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Alvin in 1966

Alvin Takes Wing

On January 17, 1966, a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling off the coast of Spain, resulting in the loss of four hydrogen bombs. Three of the bombs fell on land near the fishing village of Palomares, but the fourth fell in the Mediterranean Sea, so, in February of that year, the then-new submersible Alvin was loaded onto a transport plane at Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Mass., for a flight to Spain. One month later, Alvin helped recover the missing bomb, intact, from 910 meters (2,990 feet) beneath the surface. (Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)


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