A rare piece of American history sitting at the bottom of Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada, will again be open to scuba divers.
A B-29 Superfortress World War II plane crash landed in Lake Mead in 1948 and wasn’t found again until 2002.
Public access to the crash site has been restricted for the past six years, but is now open again for a brief period.
Joel Silverstein and his dive crew have been given a special permit to give guided tours to this rare piece of American history.
“The B-29’s were very important during World War II,” said Silverstein. “They carried all the different bombs and a lot of people flew in them and they were the most popular and most used plane in World War II.”
The dive site is about a 30 minute boat ride from Echo Bay near Overton, Nevada. The war plane has sat there for nearly 70 years and Silverstein says viewing the plane is like a trip back in time.
“You want to think of the B-29 Overton site like a museum. And just like when you go into a museum, you go in with a guide. We take you down the anchor line across a mooring to a gateway to get to it,” he said.
The wreckage has been closed off to the public since 2009. Damage from visitors and the economic downturn forced the National Park Service to rethink access to the site.
“We did see some minor damage happen to the plane – people kicking it, stepping on things, touching certain areas,” said Silverstein.
The historically low water level of Lake Mead has let sunlight filter down to the bottom, illuminating the wreckage so divers can get a better look.
“The other advantage of the site being in shallower water is that more divers can actually access it,” said Silverstein. “Prior to it being at 118 feet, you had to have very heavy technical diving skills to dive it.”
Silverstein says there is noticeable damage to the bomber since the last time he’s been there.
An invasive species of quagga mussels cover the plane’s wings like a furry coat. The tail section and some internal components have also been damaged by the mussels.
“What’s happened with the quagga mussels is, they’ve attached themselves to the material,” said Silverstein. “They’ve added weight to some of that material and it’s torn off, so sections of the tail that were there before are no longer there.”
The B-29 was on a classified mission carrying a crew of five in July 1948. The plane was ditched into Lake Mead, skimming across the water, ripping off all but one engine. The five men floated for six hours until they were rescued.
Confusion about where the plane sunk caused the plane wreckage to go missing for more than 50 years until it was found in 2002 with the use of sonar.
The B-29 Superfortress crash site is only open for a limited time. For the next two years, they’ll run about 100 dives a year – a limited number to prevent damage to the crash site itself.
For more information visit Joel’s website.
Photo: Mel Clark
BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Deep-Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler
A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.
Deep Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler.
This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Richie Kohler. He’s an explorer, technical wreck diver, shipwreck historian, filmmaker, and author.
Richie was featured in Robert Kurson’s incredible book “Shadow Divers ”. It’s a thrilling true story about Richie and John Chatterton’s quest to identify the wreck of an unknown WWII German U-boat (submarine), 65 miles off the coast of New Jersey. They dedicated six years of their lives attempting to identify the wreck.
Richie has travelled the world and explored many deep wrecks, including the Andrea Doria, Titanic, and Britannic. He’s the author of “Mystery of The Last Olympian” about the Britannic.
Richard E Hyman Bio
Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.
Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.
Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.
You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.
New Fisheries Act misses the mark on sustainability, but what now?
The UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act, the first legislation of its kind in nearly 40 years, will shape how the UK’s seas are fished for years to come.
The Marine Conservation Society, which campaigned for amendments to the legislation throughout its development, is disappointed by the removal of key sustainability amendments and by the removal of a commitment to rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring.
The charity has committed to pushing the UK Government to go further than the framework which the Fisheries Act sets out, with greater ambition for the state of UK seas.
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of the Marine Conservation Society said: “UK Government and devolved administrations must act urgently to deliver climate and nature smart fisheries under the new Fisheries Act. This is a key condition if our seas are to recover to good health. The UK Government removed key amendments from the legislation while making promises on sustainability and the introduction of remote electronic monitoring. We will continue to hold the government to account over these promises.”
“I’m pleased to see the recognition of the important role fisheries play in our fight against the climate emergency. However, even with a climate change objective in the Act, actions speak louder than words. We must get to work delivering sustainable fisheries management, which will have a huge benefit to our seas, wildlife and the communities which depend upon them.”
The Fisheries Act has become law against a backdrop of the ocean’s declining health. UK waters are currently failing to meet 11 out of 15 indicators of good ocean health and over a third of fish in UK waters are being caught at levels which cannot continue into the future. Whilst the legislation failed to address some of the more pressing issues facing UK seas, including overfishing, there is still an opportunity to affect change in the years which follow.
Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries at the Marine Conservation Society said: “The Fisheries Act marks the start of a new era of fisheries management in the UK, but the next two years will be critical in defining what this looks like. The new Act has some good objectives, but we now need to come together to make sure it really delivers the on-water change that is desperately needed for ocean recovery.
“There is genuine opportunity to create fisheries that deliver for coastal communities and for the environment, but it means moving away from ‘business-as-usual’. The UK and devolved governments now have the powers to move forward with progressive new management in their waters. That means proper incentives for low impact fishing, proper monitoring of catches and proper commitments to sustainable fishing.
“In the short term, the four nations must work together to make impactful changes, starting by addressing the UK’s most at risk fish stocks. Recovery plans are needed for our depleted stocks, including new catch limits, selectivity and avoidance measures, protection of vital habitats and fully documented catches. Rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring with cameras on larger vessels throughout the UK should be top of the agenda if future policy is to be as well informed as possible.”
For more information about the Fisheries Bill and the Marine Conservation Society’s work, visit the charity’s website.
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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.More Less
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