It is known as 1980 Titan II Missile Explosion, Damascus, AR Missile Silo Explosion, Damascus, AR Missile Silo Explosion, Sep' 1980, Titan II Missile Accident, Disaster at Silo 7, Arkansas atomic missile explosion and 1980 Damascus, Arkansas incident.
The fuel tank of a Titan II ICBM missile exploded whilst the missile was still in it's silo after a workman dropped a tool that fell on to his platform, rolled off the edge, fell in to the silo and then pierced the Stage I fuel tank. Once all the fuel had exited the tank, the 103ft missile collapse in on it's self due to it's own dead weight.
The hypergolic propellants used as the rocket's fuel evaporated and after about 8 1/2 hours, ignited and exploded, along with the entire missile, which also ignited and then exploded, fatally wounding SrA David Livingston of the USAF and no ftly injuring 22 others. The bast was so powerful that destroyed the silo (Silo-374-7) and blew off the 750-ton silo doors.
There was no major radiation issue or a fissile/atomic 'nuke type' explosion, due to the 10mt warhead's built-in safety features preventing a atomic blast.
Media and books
- A US television movie "Disaster at Silo 7" was made about it.
- Author Eric Schlosser published a book which is centered on the accident: "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety".