Lost U.S. Nuke Off Greenland Base Site?

ByABC News
August 13, 2000, 11:20 AM

C O P E N H A G E N, Denmark, Aug. 13 -- A U.S. nuclear bomb lost morethan three decades ago probably lies on the seabed offGreenlands Thule airbase, which the United States aims to usefor its controversial anti-missile shield, a Danish newspaperreported today.

Classified documents obtained by a group of former workersat Thule, an Arctic air and radar base built by the UnitedStates in 1951-52, suggest that one of four hydrogen bombs on aB-52 bomber that crashed there in 1968 was never found, thedaily Jyllands-Posten said.

Detective work by a group of former Thule workersindicates that an unexploded nuclear bomb probably still lies onthe seabed off Thule, the right-leaning mass-circulation dailysaid.

The crash on January 21, 1968 led to a crisis in relationsbetween the United States and NATO ally Denmark, which isresponsible for Greenlands foreign, security and defense policyand at the time prohibited nuclear weapons on its territory,including Greenland.

Denmark was never informed about the lost bomb, which hasserial number 78252, the paper said.

Film Shows Bomb-Like Object

Footage filmed at the site by a U.S. submarine searching forremains of the B-52 wreckage in April 1968 contained images of abomb-like object, the Danish Ritzau news agency reported.

A U.S. state department document dated August 31, 1968 saidall weapons onboard the crashed aircraft had been accounted forbut did not spell out whether they had been recovered, Ritzausaid.

The United States assured the Danish government in spring1968 that clean-up work after the B-52 crash had been completedand gave up searching for the lost bomb in August that year,Jyllands-Posten said.

We are not able to comment at this stage, LawrenceButler, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy inCopenhagen, told Reuters by telephone. Danish governmentofficials were not available for comment.

Niels-Joergen Nehring, head of the state-sponsored DanishInstitute of International Affairs (DUPI), which published areport named Greenland During the Cold War in 1997,including a chapter on the B-52 crash, said Jyllands-Postensclaim that a lost bomb remained off Thule was not surprising.