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Touring the plane submerged in Lake Mead

A look inside the WWII Superfortress B-29 that is submerged in Lake Mead. (NPS video image)

A look inside the WWII Superfortress B-29 that is submerged in Lake Mead. (NPS video image)

KINGMAN – Should diving to the plane submerged in Lake Mead be allowed? The Lake Mead Recreation Area considers allowing guided access again, but would like to consult the public first.

It was 1948 and the WWII Superfortress B-29 was gathering lower altitudes data over Lake Mead. Bad conditions and an incorrectly set altimeter caused the crash.

The site of the crash was discovered by local divers in 2003. Because the plane crashed within a national park, it is being protected as other natural resources within 1.5 million acres of the Lake Mead Recreation Area. The site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After park divers conducted an assessment of the plane and crash site, it was opened to limited permitted diving from 2008-2009 and 2015-2017.

But conditions in Lake Mead change constantly, along with the level of water. Less water means easier access to the wreckage, but worse preservation.

According to Dr. David Conlin from National Park Service Submerged Resources Center who visited the site multiple times, the plane looks like a spaceship.

“It does not belong to the Park Service; it belongs to the American people. It’s an incredible piece of history, Cold War history and World War II history,” he said in a 2017 interview with the Boulder City Review.

The permit would specify technical qualifications for dive master, dive guide, and diver, the client-to-guide ratio, the number of client dives per month, NPS monitoring of diving activities, and adjustment of the requirements of the Commercial Use Authorization in response to changes in the condition of the site.

Comments should be submitted by June 30, 2019 at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=95870 or via mail to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, B29 CUA, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005.

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