Broken Arrow: The Bomber at the Bottom of Lake Mead
As sad and morbid as it is, plane crashes happen. Sometimes it occurs due to human error and sometimes it is a mechanical or electronic mishap during the flight. But few incidents in history have people talking about it even after years.
The Lake Mead crash is one of them and it fascinated me after I learned about it. You may have never heard of it, but it is an incredible story. Broken Arrow: the Bomber at the bottom of Lake Mead — what really happened and how? Let’s jump into all the tragic and shocking incidents that took place.
What Happened at Lake Mead in 1948?
The Lake Mead crash in 1948 left people with a lot of questions. But before all that, what actually happened? A massive World War II bomber plane crashed into Lake Mead. You can bet that an all-out effort was started to locate the aircraft.
However, the aircraft wasn’t found until many years later. In the early 2000s, the aircraft was eventually found. The shocking part was it was pretty well intact even after all these years. There are two sides to the reports though.
The officials say that the instruments in the aircraft were not calibrated properly. Another side of the story says that the pilot was ‘hotdogging’. So, what is that? In aviation, hotdogging is a term used when pilots are flying an aircraft really low to showoff.
It can be because the pilots were doing a stunt or it was just plain old fun. The discrepancies in the two stories are one of the things that raise such an interest in this tragic incident. In the official report, investigators state the plane was flying low not for just fun. But they wanted to collect some last moment scientific data.
Scientists and the flight crew later stated that the pilots were just hotdogging. This statement was made by scientist Susan Edwards, who is a historian and an archeologist at the DRI (Desert Research Institute).
The Crash of Flight B-29 (S/N 45–21847)
How did it all happen? The details are pretty grim as you might expect. When the plane hit the lake, three of the four engines were stripped off. One of them hit the tail and destroyed it. The engine took out a portion of the aircraft’s tail.