Mystery surrounds WWII-era ‘ghost boat’ found in drought-stricken California lake

U.S. Forest Service

(NEW YORK) — A World War II-era boat was discovered at drought-stricken Shasta Lake in California, the U.S. Forest Service announced.

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest shared photos of the vessel it called the Higgins boat, or “Ghost Boat,” on Facebook on Sunday.

Officials discovered that the boat has “31-17” marked on its side, which it said is confirmation that the ship was assigned to the attack transport USS Monrovia, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The boat was also used as a headquarters for Gen. George S. Patton during the 1943 invasion of Sicily, the Forest Service said.

“[Dwight D.] Eisenhower also was on this ship at that time, and it went on to a further 6 D-Day invasions in the Pacific,” it wrote on Facebook.

“It really is quite remarkable how it emerged from the lake with so many stories to tell,” the Forest Service said. “Any ‘restoration’ will be done to preserve as much of the integrity of the boat as possible and will hopefully preserve it in a weathered ‘combat fatigue’ look, and that is how it is intended to be displayed at a museum in Nebraska.”

How the Higgins boat sank remains unknown, but drought conditions in the western U.S. have led to other discoveries.

In July, another Higgins boat surfaced on Nevada’s Lake Mead because of receding waters amid rising temperatures.

The ship was so far under the surface that the National Park Service sent divers looking for it in 2006.

Those receding waters also led to the discovery of multiple bodies in Lake Mead. So far this year, five sets of human remains have been found in Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir.

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