Sunken WWII-Era Landing Craft Emerges From Drying Lake Mead

The boat, which was previously submerged for decades, is the same type used in the Normandy landing during WWII.

The dropping water level of Lake Mead has brought a World War II-era landing craft above the surface of the drought-stricken reservoir this month. The landing craft, a diving spot for many years, was once 185 feet below the water’s surface, according to KTLA. YouTuber The Other Me captured a video of the craft partially submerged in the lake.

According to several sources, including The Associated Press, the landing craft is a Higgins boat, the type used in the Normandy landings, among others. It was allegedly used to survey the Colorado River before being sold to the Lake Mead Marina, adjacent to the Hoover Dam. The craft is reported to have sunk sometime after it was acquired by the Marina, according to local diving company Las Vegas Scuba.

The Higgins craft now sits mostly above the water, although it has gradually gotten closer to the lake’s surface was water levels have dropped. YouTube videos from divers show that as recently as two years ago, the boat was still submerged in 60 feet of water. Worsening droughts have caused the reservoir to recede rapidly.

If the water level continues to drop, other WWII-era artifacts will bring themselves to the surface. Lake Mead’s depths hide two large aircraft: a Consolidated PBY Catalina and a Boeing B-29 Super Fortress. The B-29 is largely intact and still submerged, a popular diving spot like the Higgins boat used to be. The PBY is also diveable but split into two pieces.

As of July 1, Lake Mead is currently at its lowest depth since being filled in 1937: 1,043.02 feet. If the drought continues, its surface will stabilize at 895 feet, the level of the reservoir’s lowest outlet. At that point, the lake will have just 35 feet to drop before the city of Las Vegas will have to find an alternative source of drinking water.

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