A rusting rocket discovered in a man’s garage in Washington state is in fact an inert nuclear missile, police have said.
Authorities contacted a man in Bellevue after he called the Air Force Museum offering to donate a military-grade rocket that belonged to his late neighbour. He said that his neighbour had bought the item from an estate sale.
Bellevue police bomb squad technicians said it was a Douglas AIR-2 Genie, an unguided air-to-air rocket that is designed to carry a 1.5kt W25 nuclear warhead. They said there was no warhead attached and there was no danger of an explosion.
Seth Tyler, a spokesman for Bellevue police department, said the device was “just basically a gas tank for rocket fuel”.
He told the BBC the event was “not serious at all”, adding that “our bomb squad member asked me why we were releasing a news release on a rusted piece of metal”.
Mr Tyler said the museum did not appear to have warned the man that they had reported his offer.
He said that the individual in question “was not expecting a call from us” and was “extremely irritated” by the media coverage.
Mr Tyler added that he was “gracious enough” to let us have a look at it.
Police said there was no warhead attached and there was no danger of an explosion – Bellevue Police Department
Police determined the item was safe and left it with the man to be restored for display in a museum.
“We think it’s gonna be a long, long time before we get another call like this again,” Bellevue police department said on Twitter.
The Genie was the first nuclear-armed air-to-air weapon.
It said it was the “most powerful interceptor missile ever deployed by the US Air Force”.
Production of the Genie ended in 1962.
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