Lights, camera… fallout

LAST UPDATED: 20 Oct, 2008 @ 09:47
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Hollywood bases melodrama around Almeria nuclear accidentHollywood bases melodrama around Almeria nuclear accident

A COLD War nuclear incident that almost resulted in Andalucía being wiped off the face of the Earth is to be the subject of a Hollywood film.

Muchas Gracias, Bob Oppenheimer tells the tale of a US serviceman who falls in love with a pretty señorita while on manoeuvres in Almeria.

But those expecting an Hispanic version of Hiroshima Mon Amour had better be warned. The real life events that have inspired the movie are more akin to the farce of Dr Strangelove.

It was 1966 and the World was holding its breath as the United States of America and the Soviet Union squared off against each other in a deadly game of nuclear chess.

On the morning of January 17, a US Air Force B52 bomber was returning to North America after patrolling the skies over Eastern Europe; the petrol gauge was low and it was time to fill up.

Alongside it was a giant KC 135 Stratotanker and both planes tried the tricky refuelling operation above Almeria. As the bomber nuzzled into place beneath the tanker, something went wrong with the manoeuvre.

The B52 rammed the underbelly of the tanker and the two planes ripped in two; the KC spilled its 40,000 gallons of fuel and the bomber dropped its load. Four hydrogen bombs, each 100 times more powerful than those which flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II, fell onto the fishing village of Palomares below.

Now, Hollywood-based studio Miramax is to film the resulting operation that saw the village sealed off and the US Army descend on rural Almeria to recover the bombs, which miraculously did not explode.

Three were found in and around the village, while the fourth was recovered weeks later from the Mediterranean Sea after a game of hide and seek with the military.
“Everyone in this area is sick and tired of this event, but we understand there is so a story to be told. We just hope that Hollywood does not invent barbaric falsities,” said Jesús Caicedo, the mayor of nearby Cuevas del Almanzora.

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