The Scuba Blog

February 11th, 2008

Technical Scuba Diver Dies Diving on Navy PBY Catalina Amphibious Patrol Bomber in Lake Mead

Posted by DiveMaster in The Scuba Blog

pbyThe National Park Service is investigating the death of 40-year-old Michael Lawrence Anderson of Las Vegas, who died on a technical dive to the wreckage of a Navy PBY Catalina flying boat that crashed into Lake Mead in 1949.  (Picture of a PBY Boat from Internet Left)

At 1:52 p.m. Sunday 2-11 the National Park Service emergency dispatch center received a 911 call and rangers arrived at Boulder Basin by 2:09 p.m.

Park rangers performed CPR on the diver for about 45 minutes. Mercy Air ambulance also responded, but the victim was pronounced dead at 3 p.m.

Anderson was diving with three other Las Vegas men when he apparently had a problem with his air supply. Assistant park superintendent Gary Warshefski said the divers were working about 150 feet beneath Lake Mead’s surface at the time of the accident.

The Catalina flying boat crashed into Lake Mead on Oct. 24, 1949. The aircraft, converted for civilian use by the Charles Babb Company of Los Angeles, took off from Boulder City Airport for a test flight and attempted a water landing in the Boulder Basin area of Lake Mead. But the landing gear was still down, causing the plane to flip and catch fire.

Four of the five men on board died. Pilot Russell Rogers and mechanic Charmen Correa, both from Southern California, went down with the wreckage. Fellow Californian Clarence Masters and Boulder City Airport Operator Ted Swift were thrown clear of the plane but never regained consciousness.

George Davis, the only member of the group strapped to his seat, survived with a broken leg, cuts and bruises.

The Patrol Bomber, built for the U.S. Navy in the 1930s and 1940s, was used in World War II. The aircraft that went down at Lake Mead is is two pieces, resting at a depth of 190 feet below the surface.

All of us at The Scuba Blog offer our condolences to the family of Mr. Anderson.

Source: Las Vega Sun

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