A Wrench in the Works

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Every day, we go about our lives doing thousands of routine, mundane tasks. And sometimes, we make mistakes. Human error. It happens all the time. It just doesn’t always happen in a nuclear missile silo.
On September 18, 1980, a technician was working in a Titan ll missile silo in Damascus, Arkansa, when he dropped a wrench. The tool fell and pierced a hole in the side of the missile which happened to be carrying a nuclear warhead. This is a story of an accident that nearly caused the destruction of a giant portion of the Midwest.

This story was produced in collaboration with This American Life.

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