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1965 Philippine Sea A 4 incident

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Date  December 5, 1965
Aircraft type  Douglas A-4E Skyhawk
Summary  Pre-flight human error
1965 Philippine Sea A-4 incident
Site  Philippine Sea, 80 mi (130 km) E of Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Fatalities  Pilot (LTJG Douglas M. Webster)
Operator  Attack Squadron VA-56 Carrier Air Wing Five

The 1965 Philippine Sea A-4 crash was a Broken Arrow incident in which a United States Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon fell into the sea from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga.


The accident

On 5 December 1965, 31 days after Ticonderoga's departure from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in the Philippines, the attack jet fell over the side during a training exercise while being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator. The pilot, Lieutenant (junior grade) Douglas M. Webster; the aircraft, Douglas A-4E BuNo 151022 of Attack Squadron 56 (VA-56); and the B43 nuclear bomb were never recovered from the 16,000 ft (4,900 m) depth. The accident occurred 80 miles (130 km) from Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Ticonderoga had aboard Carrier Air Wing Five during this cruise, with two squadrons of Skyhawks, the other being VA-144.


It was not until 1989 that the Pentagon revealed the loss of the one-megaton bomb. The revelation inspired a diplomatic inquiry from Japan requesting details.


1965 Philippine Sea A-4 incident Wikipedia

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