Second World War landing craft emerges on bed of Lake Mead as water levels drop to their lowest in more than fifty years due to megadrought

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by Alex Oliveira, Daily Mail:

  • A World War Two-era Higgins landing craft has been revealed as Lake Mead’s waters continue to recede
  •  The boat was previously about 185 feet beneath the surface of the lake, but now rests halfway out of the water
  •  As of Friday, the water in in the lake was 1,043.5 feet above sea level. That is 4.5 feet lower than one month ago, over 25 feet down from the same time last year

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New photos show how Lake Mead’s waters have dropped to their lowest levels in history, revealing objects that have laid hidden beneath the surface for years.

Among the latest finds to be revealed by the receding waters is a World War II era landing craft, the same kind that dropped American troops on the Normandy beaches on D-Day in 1944.

The boat – a Higgins landing craft – was previously about 185 feet beneath the surface of the lake, but now rests halfway out of the water.

Water levels in Lake Mead – the largest reservoir in the US, which is formed by the Hoover Dam River and sits about 24 miles from Las Vegas – have reached their lowest level since 1971.

Levels have been declining for the past few years, as a result of the ongoing megadrought in the southwestern US, as well as increasing demand for water.

In addition to the Higgins craft and a number of other shipwrecks, the skeletal remains of several bodies that some suspect to be victims of Las Vegas’ notorious mob past have been found along the lakes new shorelines.

The boat - a Higgins landing craft - was previously about 185 feet beneath the surface of the lake, but now rests halfway out of the water

The boat – a Higgins landing craft – was previously about 185 feet beneath the surface of the lake, but now rests halfway out of the water

The World War Two-era Higgins landing craft seen through a tangle of steel cables also revealed by the receding waters

The World War Two-era Higgins landing craft seen through a tangle of steel cables also revealed by the receding waters

The boat was manufactured between 1942 and 1945, and was used for surveying the Colorado River

The boat was manufactured between 1942 and 1945, and was used for surveying the Colorado River

The landing craft was revealed under one-mile from Lake Mead Marina and Hemingway Harbor. It was one of thousands manufactured by Higgins between 1942 and 1945 to transport American troops during World War II.

It is unclear if the Higgins found in Lake Mead saw duty overseas, but after the war it was for surveying of the Colorado River, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The boat was then sold to one of the lake’s marinas, before eventually being sunken and used as a breakwater beneath the surface, according to a representative from Las Vegas Scuba, which used to conduct dive tours of the wreck.

‘As water levels continue to fluctuate and decline, we know that this boat may come to the attention of park visitors both new and returning,’ the National Park Service said in a statement, ‘Lake Mead hopes everyone has the opportunity to learn more about its history and ask that as visitors enjoy the site, they leave it as they found it to avoid damaging the boat.’

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