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We Spoke to the Diver Who May Have Found a Lost Atomic Bomb in the Ocean

Sometimes when you're out looking for sea cucumbers all you find is nukes.
A Mark IV nuclear bomb, the same bomb that a BC diver may have found. Photo via Wikipedia

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada

When Sean Smyrichinsky first saw the object, he thought it was a UFO.

He was scooting around on a diver propulsion vehicle 30 feet deep in the water of the north Pacific Ocean looking his damndest for some sea cucumbers. He was having bum luck finding his bounty when the object appeared out of the murk.

"After a few minutes of flying around under the water, out of the haze, I saw what looked like a large disk come out of the ground," said Smyrichinsky. "I, at first, thought it was a weird rock formation but as it became closer I knew right away it was man-made."


The object was "perfectly round" on the bottom and the top was flat and the centre of it had a circular hole cut out, surrounding the centre circle were concave bowls moulded into the top of it. It didn't look like anything you would ever find underwater naturally.

"This thing couldn't float, it's too big and it doesn't displace enough water to float. I can't imagine it floating on the surface and sinking. And it's so large and surrounded by such reefs and such rough terrain that I couldn't imagine that a boat big enough to haul the thing could get in there."

"So I was like, 'What the hell is this thing, and how did it get here?' But then I was like, 'UFO! It's a UFO! I found a UFO!'"

While the find is most likely not a UFO, it very well may be a part of be a nuclear bomb lost in 1950 when an American bomber went down.

The plane was flying a simulated nuclear strike against the Soviet Union and was on its way from Alaska to Texas when, off the coast of BC, three of its engines caught fire. The crew at first jettisoned things, which is apparently when the bomb went out, and eventually had to abandon the plane into the icy cold of the north Pacific Ocean, five of the 17 were killed.

While the actual wreckage of the plane was located in 1997, its payload never was. Smyrichinsky's find is about 50 miles away from where the wreckage was found.

At the time, Smyrichinsky, a professional diver with U.B. Diving, was out on a three-week fishing expedition with some buds. After finding the object he raced back to the boat to let his fellow fisherman know about his discovery. They thought he was crazy.


So Smyrichinsky drew the object on the only thing he could find at that moment, a napkin.

In fact, it wasn't until Smyrichinsky and co. made their way to a packer—a big ship all fishers in the area would drop their catches off at—and met with some grizzled fishermen who had fished the area forever that Smyrichinsky learned of the possible origins of his find.

"These are the guys that know everything and they say to me 'Hey, maybe you found the ol' A-bomb they lost in the 50s,'" said Smyrichinsky.

Smyrichinsky believes that it was because he was on the DPV flying around surveying the land that he found the object in the well fished area.

"I was a little deeper and had an aerial vantage point that they would never see," he said. "Other guys might of walked past this thing and never ever seen it a thousand times, but they were doing a different thing"

A few days after finding it, when they finally had WiFi, Smyrichinsky googled the story of the bomb and googled a Mark IV and compared a portion of it to the drawing on the napkin.

"One of the images that came up was a schematic and right away one of the pieces in the middle looked just like the thing I found," said Smyrichinsky. I turned to my friend and said, 'Look, here's the napkin. I've never seen a Mark IV in my life. Look at this napkin and look at this piece!'"

Spurred on by an Air Force friend, Smyrichinsky contacted the Canadian Navy and they got back to him "very quickly." Since then, they have sent a ship on its way to the west coast to investigate the area where Smyrichinsky found the object.


They don't believe that if the object Smyrichinsky found was indeed the bomb that it would still be active. Major Steve Neta of the Canadian Armed Forces told the CBC it, more likely, it would be a "dummy capsule."

"Nonetheless, we do want to be sure and we do want to investigate it further," Neta told the CBC.

If Smyrichinsky's object is proven to be a nuclear bomb, well, that's one hell of a haul for a man who was simply out looking for sea cucumbers.

But, in the meantime, Smyrichinsky said he's still holding out hope that it's a UFO.

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