Joe Pasquini, a RAF flight navigator, had the unfortunate job of collecting samples of a nuclear bomb after it exploded. Which meant, Pasquini had to fly an aeroplane covered in wax through the mushroom cloud to capture the floating radioactive particles. That doesn’t sound fun.
Pasquini, who has had seven bouts with cancer since flying that plane through the cloud, describes the experience to the BBC.
“It detonated at 8000 feet [2432m]. We had our eyes closed, but even with our eyes closed we could see the light through our eye lids. It took 49 seconds for the light to stop… I think I saw the face of God for the first time. It was just incredible, it blew our minds away. These were things that had never been seen before, certainly not by English people.”
Flying at 46,000 feet (14km), Pasquini even saw radioactive rain pour over his aeroplane. Yeah, I’m glad I’ll never have to go through a freaking mushroom cloud for testing purposes. Pasquini, who’s now 79, is now helping veterans families get compensation for being put in harm’s way during their military service. [BBC, Image Credit: RAF Museum]