Fact of the Day: A Japanese Fishing Boat Was Within 80 Miles of the Bikini Atoll Hydrogen Bomb Test

Mushroom Cloud of Operation Castle-Bravo

On this day, March 1, 1954, the U.S. tested the hydrogen bomb off of the Bikini Atoll. This explosion was over 1000 times greater than the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Code named Castle Bravo, the explosion was (at the time) the biggest man-made explosion and much larger than what was predicted.  A fishing boat called (very unfortunately) the Lucky Dragon, was in the fallout zone from the blast.  The boat, its catch, and all 23 men on board were contaminated.  The men fell sick with radiation poisoning and by the time they returned to Japan they were suffering from: “nausea, headaches, burns, pain in the eyes, bleeding from the gums, and other symptoms.”  One of the men died in September of that year.  [Source here, here, and here]

Other interesting facts:

– The natives who originally lived on the islands were moved in the 1940s and compensated.  They were allowed to return in 1974, but told to leave again four years later “when new tests showed high levels of residual radioactivity in the region”.  [source]

– The boat is now in a specially dedicated museum, along with artefacts from the sailors and exhibits on the effects of nuclear war.  It’s called the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall and is found in Toyko.  [source]

photo_no5fukuryu marshall_e

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Image | This entry was posted in 20th Century, Fun Fact of the Day, Modern History, U.S. History, Warfare and Armour, World War Two and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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