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The legend of the “Lady of the Lake”

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The "Lady of the Lake" is the last WB-29 Superfortress left at Eielson AFB which was dropped from the Air Force inventory in 1955 because of a ground accident. The aircraft was taken to the pond it currently rests in and was used for open water extracation training until it became too dangerous. The aircraft was abandoned where it lays.
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt Joshua Strang)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The "Lady of the Lake" is the last WB-29 Superfortress left at Eielson AFB which was dropped from the Air Force inventory in 1955 because of a ground accident. The aircraft was taken to the pond it currently rests in and was used for open water extracation training until it became too dangerous. The aircraft was abandoned where it lays. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt Joshua Strang)

The legend of the “Lady of the Lake”

B-29 Superfortress

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Since moving to Eielson in July 2013, I have heard numerous tales about the mysterious “Lady of the Lake.” I always assumed it was some ghost legend of a woman who drowned in a lake and haunts people who look for her, but boy was I wrong.

Recently, I began to look into the real history of the Lady of the Lake, as I enjoy ghost tales and wanted to learn more. To my surprise, it had nothing to do with a woman at all. No, it is actually about a WB-29 Bomber aircraft that has been abandoned for ages in its watery final resting place.

She is a World War II era bomber that partially sticks out of the water, and just a few short summers ago, her true history was unearthed.

A team of divers began an expedition and found that when the bomber, whose tail number is 44-62214, was operational, she flew between Alaska and Japan, detecting evidence of Soviet nuclear testing in 1949. The divers also found a table with grease pencil writing that depicted the names of the crew members on the mission and confirmed the tail number of the bomber.

This was a fascinating and educational discovery for me, but the more I read, the more I began to wonder just how the bomber ended up in the lake to begin with.

According to Jack Waid, the former Historian for Eielson, there is no record of how the plane ended up in the lake, only hearsay and legends to go off of. Sometime before 1964, the aircraft ended up in the lake, whether it was considered an eyesore, moved because of damage, or put there specifically for training purposes.

The diving crews did find evidence that would support the theory of having the plane put in the lake intentionally for egress training. This evidence included an A-frame apparatus which would have been used for water rescue training.

This just goes to show you that speculation of any event can lead to misinformation and unfounded rumors. Where I thought a ghost story existed was actually a historical story of the first B-29 Bomber to detect Soviet nuclear testing. It still leaves me to wonder how she mysteriously ended up in the bottom of an unforgettable lake.