The Hester Lake B-24 Crash: A Case Study For Small, Low-Cost ROVs


Remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) have been used for years to explore underwater archaeological sites.  Recent technology advances have improved the capabilities of ROVs, while greatly shrinking their size and lowering their cost.  Small, battery-powered ROVs can now be taken to remote sites, opening up areas for research that were previously unavailable.

In August of 2015 a team of archaeologists and ROV operators packed deep into California's Kings Canyon wilderness to explore the wreckage of a World War II B-24 bomber lying in Hester Lake, at an altitude of over 11,000'.  Over a two-day period, multiple dives were conducted to survey the main body of wreckage and to scan the remainder of the lake bottom.  The information captured gives new insight into the tragic fate of the bomber and her crew.

The ROVs used, made by OpenROV of Berkeley, California, each weighed six pounds and cost approximately $1500 to build.

Cite this Record

The Hester Lake B-24 Crash: A Case Study For Small, Low-Cost ROVs. Walt Holm, Craig Fuller, Bryan Heisinger, Gary Quigg. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435578)

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Temporal Keywords
World War II (1939-1945)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 528