Dive the B-29; WWII bomber sits on the bottom of Lake Mead

We're nearing the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Many of the men and women who fought that war, and the machines they used to win it, are slowly disappearing.

One plane built for the war is being preserved at the bottom of an Arizona lake. It's available for the truly adventurous to explore.

It's in Lake Mead, just outside Las Vegas on the Arizona-Nevada border where one of the most famous planes ever built for the military is resting on the bottom, but this one has a secret past.

In the dark green water, more than 100 feet below the surface of Lake Mead, history sits on the silt. Preserved for nearly 70 years, and classified as super-secret for decades. It's a wreck seen by very few.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the most advanced bomber built for the U.S. military during World War II. It flew higher and farther than any bomber of its time, and it dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. When the war ended one B-29 was converted to test guidance systems for early nuclear missiles.

In 1948, that B-29 was flying low over Lake Mead when the pilots lost depth perception. The plane hit the water at more than 200 miles per hour, three of the four engines were torn off, and the plane later sank to the bottom.

"This is where one of the engines were ripped off by the impact," said Joel Silverstein during a dive to explore the B-29.

Sitting upright the crew survived, but because of the nature of the mission, the crash was kept secret for 50 years.

"We're gonna drop down and traverse 90 feet to the first block here," said Silverstein.

Silverstein owns Tech Diving Limited, his is the only outfit permitted to dive on the B-29 site.

"The aluminum fuselage hasn't had a chance to get destroyed by salt water, you go anywhere in the ocean, and you'll find that planes have deteriorated within 10-15 years," he said.

It's a great dive but not an easy one because the dive is deep, one is forced to breathe different gases on the way back up. It's called decompression, to avoid getting the bends. 

Once into the water the divers descend via a mussel encrusted rope that is tied to huge concrete blocks on the bottom at 108 feet below the surface. 

The plane's massive tail appeared out of the shadows, it's almost two stories high, and even though it is encrusted in fresh-water mussels, it is perfectly preserved.

It was once a high tech implement of destruction that soared high in the air, now sits peacefully on the bottom of a desert lake.

It's a mission of warfare long over, now living on for a lucky few to visit and experience.

Special thanks to topside photographer/editor Corey Goodwin, and underwater photographers Joe Cocozza, and Joel Silverstein.

For more information on the dive visit www.divetheb29.com
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