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Another World War II-era plane was found in at the bottom of Lake Mead southeast of Las Vegas Nevada for the second time in less than five years.  The recently-discovered plane is a Navy PBY-5A Catalina flying boat that crashed into the lake on Oct. 24, 1949. Four of the five on board were killed on impact.

The PBY accident occurred 15 months following the crash into the lake of an Air Force B-29 Superfortress bomber. The B-29's crew of four and a civilian scientist aboard that flight escaped with minor injuries and were rescued by nearby fishermen.

the B-29, which rests in about 170 feet of water, is in one piece. The PBY flying boat lies at a depth of 190 feet and is in two large pieces.

When it crashed into Lake Mead 58 years ago, it was no longer in the Navy's inventory. It had been sold by the government to a civilian firm in Los Angeles and had taken off from the Boulder City Airport for a test flight when the crash occurred.

The pilot was attempting a water landing in the Boulder Basin of the lake, but the landing gear was still down when the aircraft touched the water, flipping the plane and setting it afire before it sank.

Four of the crew died in the crash but the fifth man in the PBY, the only occupant who was wearing a seat belt, managed to swim from the wreckage and was rescued by boaters. He suffered a broken leg, cuts and bruises.
Both the PBY and the B-29 bomber now at the bottom of Lake Mead have been designated by the National Park Service as dive sites.

But because of the great depth at which the two planes lie, special permission must be obtained from her office and divers must descend to the wrecks in groups chaperoned by Park Service employees.

Both wrecks have been listed as official U.S. archeological sites, and it is prohibited by federal law to remove any items from the wrecks.

Information for qualified divers interested in visiting the two submerged planes may be had by calling the Lake Mead Recreation Area at (702) 293-8947.


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Thats interesting. Every now and then a passenger will ask me about the B-29 when we are flying by Lake Mead on the way to or from Boulder City. Now I have another story to tell.

Research of historical civil and commercial aviation accidents and sites (1920s-1990s). http://www.lostflights.com
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