Lake Mead Airplane

At half past noon on July 21, 1948, a Lockheed B-29 descended onto the surface of Lake Mead, the Nevada reservoir behind Hoover Dam. What is the Lake Mead Airplane?

Lake Mead’s Airplane:

  • Crashed (1942) during a training mission
  • Rediscovered (2002)
  • Well-preserved due to cold, deep water
  • Serves as a popular diving attraction
  • Offers unique underwater exploration experience
  • Attracts divers & aviation enthusiasts
  • Subject to ongoing preservation efforts
  • Symbolizes WWII history

Lake Mead is emptying as the American Southwest undergoes a 20-year drought. The retreating waters have revealed cars, boats, and even bodies entombed in oil drums, and eventually, the B-29 will also surface. As of this writing, it sits under 60 feet of water and is expected to emerge in about a year, if the drought continues.


At half past noon on July 21, 1948, a Boeing B-29 descended onto the surface of Lake Mead, the Nevada reservoir behind Hoover Dam. In a gentle descent at just above its 220-mph cruise speed, the Superfortress skipped once for about 200 yards, hit again, tore off three of its four engines, and began its slow descent to the lake bottom. The five-man crew boarded two life rafts and was soon rescued, the sole injury a crewman’s broken arm. These days, Lake Mead is emptying as the American Southwest undergoes an extended drought. The retreating waters have revealed cars, boats, and even bodies entombed in oil drums, and eventually, the B-29 will also surface. As of this writing, it rests under 60 feet of water and is expected to emerge in about a year, if the drought continues.

 Lake Mead’s Airplane: The Sunken Aircraft


Plunging into the watery depths of history, Lake Mead’s seemingly tranquil expanse harbors a secret legacy from a bygone era. Concealed beneath its surface lies a relic of military prowess, a B-29 airplane, a silent sentinel to the past’s complex narratives. This aircraft, once slicing through the skies on wartime missions, now rests in the embrace of Lake Mead, a dive site shrouded in enigma and enticing intrepid explorers who dare to unravel its tale.

The story of the sunken plane is a vignette of history’s unpredictable turns; a mishap during a military exercise bequeathed Lake Mead an unwanted yet fascinating inheritance. With each passing year, the lake has closely guarded its prize, challenging history buffs, and dive enthusiasts alike to speculate: Will Lake Mead, its levels ebbing and flowing with the whims of nature, ever fully reveal the aircraft’s secrets?

Amid the plane’s resting place, the echoes of history invite divers to immerse themselves in a wartime drama beneath Lake Mead’s serene surface. The aircraft poses as a submerged beacon for those seeking to connect with the military past, to dive not just into Lake Mead’s blue but also into the annals of historic ventures. Each dive is an act of piecing together the aircraft’s narrative, a reverent exploration of the chasm between past and present, between the skies and the depths of Lake Mead.

While the plane’s story is a chapter in the broader history of military affairs, it is also a poignant reminder of the fragility of human endeavors, now cradled in the basin of Lake Mead. It beckons as a lure for the history-eager and the dive-devoted, a call to adventure and discovery in the liquid library of Lake Mead. And as the waters of time ebb and flow, perhaps, just perhaps, Lake Mead will divulge more of the B-29 airplane’s enshrouded chronicle, an ever-evolving dive into history’s submerged secrets.


The B-29 Airplane: Las Vegas’ Hidden War Relic in Lake Mead


Tucked beneath the surface of the pristine waters of Lake Mead lies a remnant of American military history, steeped in the narratives of war and peace. Las Vegas, a city synonymous with neon lights and bustling entertainment, skirts the edge of this expansive national park, housing secrets beneath its waves.

Here, an iconic B-29 airplane, a titan of the aerial warfare world, sluggishly rests on the bottom, a silent testament to the intrepid flying days of yesteryear. This aircraft, designed for long-range bombing during World War II, surprisingly found its final dock at Lake Mead’s muddy depths following a crash during a test flight, transforming from a fearful warbird to a submerged enigma.

For aviation aficionados and history buffs alike, the B-29 represents a crucial chapter in American war efforts, one that is uniquely accessible in the vicinity of Las Vegas. The once regulation-bound sky fortress, which flew missions that significantly shaped the outcome of the war, now lies tranquilly amidst Lake Mead’s submerged terrain.

The intriguing question that surfaces is whether Lake Mead will unveil more of its hidden plane, as erosion and environmental conditions gradually divulge the aircraft’s secrets. Ironically, the plane that once soared the highest reaches of the world now occupies a grave at the bottom of a vast reservoir.

Amidst the arid terrain and the entertainment capital that is Las Vegas, the juxtaposition of the B-29’s resting place within a national park that also caters to outdoor adventurers is stark. Divers who’ve explored the depths of Lake Mead tell tales of the plane’s weathered fuselage etched against the lake’s shifting sands. Military history emerges not just through the rusted metal and preserved structure of the crashed B-29, but also through the stories of the brave souls who once navigated the boundless skies, a far cry from the silent domain it currently occupies.

As Lake Mead continues to enthrall with its watery lure, the ghostly airframe of the B-29 airplane remains an enduring emblem, a bridge between the war-ravaged skies of the world and the serene but haunting bottom of one of America’s beloved national parks. It’s a stark reminder that in the heart of flying adventures and under the watchful eyes of Las Vegas, history is preserved deep below the surface. Will Lake Mead yield further revelations of its mysterious wartime relic? Only time and the relentless currents of history will tell.


B-29 Superfortress By Larry McManus, 45% OFF
The type of B-29 Bomber at the bottom of Lake Mead

Dive into History: The Underwater Aircraft of Lake Mead Park


Plunging into the depths of Lake Mead’s azure waters, history aficionados and scuba enthusiasts alike have the unique opportunity to dive into an era suspended in time. Lake Mead, revered for its vast expanse and striking landscapes, conceals beneath its surface a relic of wartime heritage. The aircraft, resting in its underwater bastion, has piqued the intrigue of many a visitor to this national park.

Those who have dared to dive down recount an almost mystical encounter with the past, as they glide over the fuselage of a sunken B-29 airplane. This Lake Mead resident is more than just an underwater artefact; it is a sentinel of history, a reminder of the park’s multi-layered past.

The National Park Service, steward of these precious legacies, ensures that the dive into Lake Mead’s secrets is more than an underwater escapade; it’s a national treasure hunt, where the jewel is the thrill of brushing against the pages of history. The aircraft’s silent wings lie in repose on the bed of Lake Mead, a treasure trove yet to divulge all of its stories, tantalizing those with an unquenchable thirst for history. This service to our historical sensibilities transforms the dive from a mere plunge into waters to an expedition through time.

Imagine the dive as a live-action reverie where the Lake Mead National Park morphs into a corridor of lingering wartime mysteries. Once you’re submerged, visibility cleaves to clarity, revealing the silhouette of the aforementioned B-29 airplane. Often referred to as Las Vegas’ hidden war relic in Lake Mead, this sunken aircraft beckons the brave to uncover its secrets. Each dive is a personal journey; as the depth increases, the story of the aircraft unfolds in eerie silence, punctuated only by the distant song of the lake’s current inhabitants.

Lake Mead’s natural allure is unquestionable, but it’s the underwater historical narrative that truly defines its essence. The aircraft that lies in its depths is a tale of its own, waiting for the water’s steady recede to unveil more of its enigma. Will the lake reveal the rest of its B-29 airplane? Only time and nature will orchestrate that revelation. Until then, each dive offers a unique vignette, a flash of history preserved amidst the national park’s service to conservation and education.


Las Vegas’ Lake Mead: Uncovering the Secrets of War Below the Surface


Nestled amidst the stark beauty of the Nevada desert, Las Vegas’ azure jewel, Lake Mead, beckons adventurers and history buffs alike with its sunken enigma—a B-29 aircraft resting silently at the lake’s bottom. But beyond the casinos and neon lights, the lure of Las Vegas extends into the depths of Lake Mead, where the whispers of war and secrets submerged in time wait to surface. The war’s legacy, hidden from daylight, finds a resting place here, beneath the stillness of Lake Mead’s waters.

In its service to history, Lake Mead has cradled the remnants of an era defined by conflict—preserving the hallowed relics far below. Here, divers plunge into the past, embarking on a dive that unspools the thread of wartime narratives.

It’s no ordinary dive; it’s a descent into a chapter of history that Lake Mead has jealously guarded—a testament to service and sacrifice. The aircraft—a B-29—remains an elusive treasure trove of wartime stories, Las Vegas’ very own hidden war relic resting at the lake’s bottom.

The whispers of secrets entangled in the B-29’s fate draw the courageous to explore. Clad in dive gear, explorers from Las Vegas and beyond partake in a service to history, unraveling the aircraft’s enigmatic past. As they sweep the bottom of Lake Mead, what was once a secret murmured amongst war veterans now beckons the world to listen. It’s here, in the underwater crevices of Lake Mead Park, where the B-29 airplane lies in quietude—its wings etched with history’s weight.

Now, as Lake Mead recedes, the question burns—will the lake reveal its B-29 airplane? Time erodes all things, even the secrets of war. Perhaps, the waters of Lake Mead, which have long stood as sentinels over sunken history, will yield to the persistent tick of the clock. What discoveries lie await in the stillness below can only compel one to gaze into the blue, whispering of the untold sagas awaiting their cue to resurface after decades lost to the depths—a secret chronicle beneath Las Vegas’ shimmer, held in the heart of Lake Mead.


Warplanes Beneath the Waves: Lake Mead’s Dive Attractions


Submerged within the depths of Lake Mead’s crystalline waters lies a historical treasure trove for dive enthusiasts – a hidden B-29 airplane, a relic from a bygone era of war. Lake Mead, renowned for its expansiveness and scenic beauty, conceals warplanes beneath its waves, creating dive attractions that are unrivaled in their allure. Divers from across the globe flock to Lake Mead National Park, eager to explore the mysterious remnants of a plane that once soared through the warfare skies. The dive sites at Lake Mead offer more than just underwater adventures; they breathe life into history, awakening the stories of courageous aviators and their aircraft that shaped our nation’s legacy.

Diving into Lake Mead offers an experience that’s both thrilling and reverent. The sunken aircraft, resting undisturbed on the lake’s bed, is a tangible connection to the past, to the times when war frenzied the world yet technological prowess soared. The plane, a silent sentinel of history, now hosts aquatic life, marrying the echoes of its war-torn past with the tranquility of Lake Mead’s underwater world.

As you glide over the aircraft, curated safely under the National Park Service’s watchful eyes, it’s hard not to feel a wave of awe at the stories that these dive attractions enshroud. The warplanes of Lake Mead, especially the enigmatic B-29 airplane, are not just dive sites; they are submerged monuments to heroism and human ingenuity.

Venturing into the blue, Lake Mead’s dive attractions call to those who seek the thrill of war relics and the beauty of aquatic life. The lake’s calm waves are a surface mirage to the wonders that lie beneath, a diver’s playground with an air of solemnity.

It is here that the aircraft, victims to war’s unforgiving nature, find their final resting place. As Lake Mead’s waters ebb and flow, they may yet bring more of these planes into the light, offering up more secrets for divers to discover, preserving the legacy of these warplanes and instilling a sense of discovery for all who dare to dive into the waves at Lake Mead’s National Park.


Gravetapping: Ghost Plane
  Bomber from Google Earth

Revealing the Past: How Lake Mead’s Fluctuating Levels Affect Las Vegas’ Sunken History


Within the watery depths of Lake Mead, history is embedded in its very bottom, obscured and awaiting the revealing power of nature’s whims. It’s here, beneath these fluctuating levels, where Las Vegas has a literal piece of its wartime legacy submerged.

The sunken B-29 airplane, once lost to the depths, holds stories of yesteryear, potentially coming into view as the water’s surface descends. It’s the site’s altering disposition—courtesy of the ebb and flow of Lake Mead’s water—that tantalizes history buffs and locals alike. The intrigue of Las Vegas’ hidden war relic, lying dormant in the belly of Lake Mead, beckons to the curious, promising a connection to the past that’s otherwise obscured by the lake’s normally placid surface.

The gripping story of how Lake Mead masks such historical treasures is inseparable from its environmental narrative. With water levels presenting a constant spectacle of change, the lake conceals and reveals its secrets like the tides hide and disclose treasures upon the seashore. At moments when the lake’s grasp loosens, relics of history find themselves unshrouded, permitting sites like the resting place of the B-29 to emerge into the sunlight.

Indeed, not only is Lake Mead’s personality demarcated by the water hugger-muggering with the terrain, but it’s also defined by those sunken vignettes that narrate an era when the skies buzzed with the clamor of warfare. It’s a history that’s palpable, one that can resonate through the cool touch of a submerged alloy or the silent tableau of the cragged fuselage at Lake Mead’s bottom.

Will Lake Mead reveal its B-29 airplane, a relic of human ingenuity and courage? Only time and the and lack of rainfall will tell.


JimGalloway Author/Editor



HistoryNet- When Will Lake Mead Give Up It’s B-29

National Parks Traveler-The World War II Bomber At The Bottom Of Lake Mead By Frani Halperin,



  1. What is the Lake Mead Airplane?  The Lake Mead Airplane is a Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft that crashed in Lake Mead during a training mission in 1942.
  2. Where is the Lake Mead Airplane located?   It lies submerged in Lake Mead, Nevada, USA.
  3. When was the Lake Mead Airplane discovered?  It was rediscovered in 2002 by divers exploring the lake.
  4. Why is the Lake Mead Airplane well-preserved?   The aircraft’s preservation is attributed to the cold, deep waters of Lake Mead.
  5. What is the significance of the Lake Mead Airplane?  It serves as a popular diving attraction and offers a unique opportunity for underwater exploration.
  6. Can divers visit the Lake Mead Airplane?   Yes, divers can explore the wreckage, making it a notable diving destination.
  7. Who typically visits the Lake Mead Airplane?   The site attracts both diving enthusiasts and aviation history buffs.
  8. Are there ongoing efforts to preserve the Lake Mead Airplane?  Yes, preservation efforts are ongoing to protect and maintain the historical significance of the aircraft.


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