May 5, 1945
A pregnant woman and 5 children are killed by a Japanese balloon bomb
The bombs were sent by the Japanese military to the western coasts of the United States and Canada. The intent was to have a cheap, efficient, and stealthy weapon utilizing the jet streams over the Pacific Ocean to carry the balloons.
This particular bomb was suspected to have landed a few weeks before Reverend Archie Mitchell, his pregnant wife Elsie, and five children between 11 and 14 discovered the balloon during a Sunday School picnic. One of the girls kicked the balloon, setting it off. The children were killed immediately or almost immediately; Mrs. Mitchell died as her husband attempted to put out the fire consuming her clothing. Rev. Mitchell was slower to arrive at the balloon and was far enough away from the blast, allowing him to be spared from injury or death. The deaths are the only recorded fatalities during World War II on the United States mainland inflicted by an enemy attack.