"In Beneath Haunted Waters Peter Stekel unfolds four equally gripping and poignant stories. He takes us into the cockpits to experience the dread of two World War II bomber crews struggling with uncertain navigation and aircraft malfunctions. He leads us into the world of aircraft wreck hunters captured by the mystique surrounding these bombers in the lakes. His deep research illustrates the often forgotten fact that America lost significantly more aircrews during the Second World War in training accidents than in combat in the Pacific Theater. And, finally, he makes us relate to those lost flyboys and grieve for them."

Randall Peffer, author of The Hunt for the Last U-Boat and Never to Return.




The following links were helpful to me during the research and writing of Beneath Haunted Waters. Please refer to the text for further information.

Both Liberators were based at Hammer Field in Fresno, California with the 461 Bomb Group (H). The 461st has a website located HERE. There is a special page for the Hester crew from #41-28463 HERE. Pages dedicated to Capt. William Darden and his plane, Exterminator #42-7674, which ditched in Huntington Lake are HERE and HERE.

"The Deadly Storm," by RW Koch. February, 1978 article reviewing the loss 463, Exterminator, and Lt. Zumsteg's B-24 December, 1943.

"The Tragic Tale of the Hester Lake Liberator," by S. Samuel Boghosian. June, 1979 article about the loss of 463.

"The B-24 Liberator." A book review from the magazine's March, 1977 issue.

"Another of our B-24s is Missing," by S. Samuel Boghosian. September, 1976 article about Exterminator.

Airplane Crashes & Accidents

Accident Statistics

Air Crashes and Miracle Landings

Huntington Lake B-24 geocache site

Map of Plane Crash sites in the United States

Teens find famed 1946 plane wreck on Swiss glacier

The Lady Be Good

The Last Flight of Liberator 41-1133

The Search for the Coleman B-24 Crew

The Search for the Huntington Lake B-24 (video)

Aviation Archeologists

AAIR - Aviation Archeology Investigation and Research (Craig Fuller)

Aircraftwrecks.com (Pat Macha)

Aviation Archeology: What is it?

MIA Recoveries - Locating and recovering US airmen lost in the China-Burma-India theater during WW II

Oklahoma Wreckchasing

Society for Aviation History

Wreckchasing.com (Nick Veronico)

Wreckchasing Message Board

Aviation Museums

Collings Foundation (They have the only flyable B-24)

Museum of Flight (Seattle)

Aviation Research

American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, January 2, 2015. Congressional Research Service.

Army Battle Casualties and Non-Battle Casualties, World War II - Final Report. December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946

Bishop Airport history by Kurt Nance (unpublished)

California Private Plane location crash database (as of February 1, 2010)

392nd Bomb Group

Ditching a B-24 equipped with a hydro-scoop (video)

Ditching a B-24 in the James River (video)

Ditching in the North Sea, by By R. L. (Bob) Krentler, 453 B.G. 732nd Sq.

How to ditch a B-17, adapted from pilot's handbook

How propeller governors work

Harold W. Kulick article on a B-17 crash

"Physiological Problems of Bomber Crews in the Eighth Air Forces During WWII, a Research Paper Presented to The Research Department Air Command and Staff College in Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements of ACSC by Major James J. Carroll. March, 1997

"Post Flying Regulations" for Smyrna Field, TN. January 1, 1945

Survival. A 1943 manual for Air Force crews forced down in all parts of the world with suggestions and tips and techniques how how to survive. With a short introduction by Eddie Rickenbacker.

USAAF War Causalities 1942-46. Summary from  Army Battle Casualties and Non-Battle Casualties, World War II

USAAF Statistical Digest for World War II (summary chart HERE)

United States Army Air Forces, Air Navigation Guide 1944 and 1945

United States Army Air Forces, Bombardier guide. Form 24B. November 23, 1944.

United States Army Air Forces, Instrument Flying Ground Trainer, Technical Order 30-100C1. August 1, 1943

United States Army Air Forces, Instrument Flying Technique in Weather. Technical Order 30-100D1. January 1, 1944

United States Navy, Naval Aviation Combat Statistics, World War II

World War II battle statistics

B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator Pilot Instructor Training Manual

     Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

B-24 Liberator Hydraulic system 1, 2

B-24 Liberator Production Numbers excerpted from Log of the Liberators by, Steve Birdsall. Doubleday. 1973.

John Bybee B-24 Liberator Research

NASA B-24 photos including ditching photos

Beneath Haunted Waters-General

"Beneath Haunted Waters," article for Ranger, by Peter Stekel

Chester Alford enlistment record

California Death Index 1940-1997

California Death Records

California Public Records

Free Newspaper Archives

Free Newspaper Obituaries

Dave McElhatton - 'Bay Area's anchorman' - dies (instrumental in having Hester Lake named)

"Fatal Subtraction: Statistical MIAs on the Industrial Battlefield," by Marc Linder, published by Journal of Legislation, Notre Dam School of Law. Vol 20, #2. 1994. A professional paper that reviews injuries and death of US workers within the United States working for industry.

Maj. General Frederick Glantzberg biography

Lt. Col. Frederick Glantzberg at the 461st Bomb Group website

Trail Building in the High Sierras, by Donald Griffin. Tells the story of building the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon during the 1930s and the death of one of the trail crew workers

"Hester Lake Saga to be Subject of New Book." Inyo Register. September 1, 2011

Historic Hammer Field

Labor Statistic and Class Struggle, by Marc Linder. Reviews injuries and death of US workers within the United States working for industry.

Missing Aircrew Report for Lt. Joseph Loftus

Missing Aircrew Report for Lt. William Zumsteg

William Zumsteg burial

William Lansford obituary #1

William Lansford obituary #2

William Lansford obituary #3

William Lansford website

William Lansford on Wikipedia

Merla Zellerbach (wife of Fred Goerner)

United States Navy Dive Manual, Revision 6. October 15, 2011

Beneath Haunted Waters-Hester Lake

463 Accident Report - extract

James Benet biography

James Benet obituary #1

James Benet obituary #2

Connection between Hester Lake B-24 and Mendel Glacier AT-7? 1,2,3,4

Lillian Margretta Cronin Woods - sister of William Cronin

William Cronin enlistment record

Cronin family buried at St. Bonaventure Cemetery

Ellis Homer Fish enlistment record

High Altitude Dive Tables

High Mountain Diving at Hester Lake

"The Jackass Expedition," by Paul Swinehagen. Mad Diver. An account of a group of divers interested in Hester Lake

Lucky Lee

New Millennium Dive Expeditions

John Specht Crew #22

"Rutland Airman's Body Found After 17 Year Search." Schenectady Gazette, August 29, 1960 with an interesting summation of the Hester Lake crew.

Tragic Story of the Lake Hester Liberator by Lyman Delameter (served with the 461st Bomb Group)

Max Richard Turvey burial (brother of Charles Turvey)

Charles Turvey enlistment record

Warbird Information Exchange - Hester Lake

The War Eaglet - Class of 43.1. Graduating classbook for Robert Hester

Beneath Haunted Waters-Huntington Lake

Bob Crider obituary (teacher at Big Creek School)

Exterminator Accident Report - extract

Exterminator search route December 6, 1943 (from accident report)

461st Liberaider from June 1992 with mention about Big Creek School Project

461st Liberator December, 1993. Huntington Lake memorial dedication. See Pages 3-5

461st Liberaider June, 1994. Joseph Hammer's recollections of working on Exterminator. See Pages 3-4.

Soldiers Drag Huntington Lake for Lost Bomber, Fresno Bee, December 8, 1943

Books to Purchase (from amazon.com)

Thomas Childers. Wings Of Morning: The Story Of The Last American Bomber Shot Down Over Germany In World War II

Hughes Glantzberg. Al Ataque. History of 461 Bomb Group written by the son of the commanding officer, Col. Frederick Glantzberg

Anthony Mireles. Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945 (3 Volume Set)

Inyo Register

Copter to Fly Team to B-24 Thursday

Downed B24 pilot's daughter to see crashsite, namesake lake

5 U.S. airmen Buried 17 Years After Local Crash

Heavy Duty Diving Gear Now Being Used to Recover B24 Bodies

High Sierra Air Wreckage to Remain Unsolved, says Air Force

Huge Bomber Makes Emergency Landing at Manzanar Field

Names of Crewmen of Missing Bomber Released by Army

Search for B24 Bodies Called Off

Search Sierra for Missing Bomber

Liberaider (occasional publication of 461st bomb Group)

461st Liberaider from June 1992 with mention about Big Creek School Project. See front page.

December, 1993. Huntington Lake memorial dedication. See Pages 3-5

June, 1994. Joseph Hammer's recollections of working on Exterminator. See Pages 3-4.

Newspaper accounts



"World War II Plane Found in Remote Lake." July 28, 1960 Bakersfield Californian

"Wreckage of Old B24 Found in Sierran Lake." July 28, 1960 Humboldt Standard

"Divers Go After '43 Crash Bodies." July 31, 1960 Oakland Tribune

"Find Clues to Bomber Crash." August 2, 1960 San Mateo Times

"Sierra Lake Preserves Bodies of Bomber Crew." August 4, 1960 Oxnard Press-Courier

"Wrecked B24 Flew From D-M." August 4, 1960 Tucson Daily Citizen

"The Angry Mountains." August 6, 1960 article by Fred Goerner. 1, 2, 3

"Sierra Lake Named for Father, Long-lost Son." December 12, 1960 Bakersfield-Californian

"Tragedy Lake Gets A Name." January 4, 1961 San Mateo Times


Flight Path for 463 December 5, 1943

Hammer Field September 1, 1943 Classification and Numbering map

Flight Path for Exterminator search mission December 6, 1943

Hammer Field 1945 layout map

Hammer Field April, 1945 Real Estate map

Radio Range map for SW United States, 1944

Here are some links provided by a student from Spring Hill School in California who is conducting his own research on World War II



Tanks and Truck and Cars

  • GMC Trucks in World War II: Discover the story behind the more than 500,000 military trucks built by GMC to support the Allies in every theater of the war.
  • The American Auto Industry in World War II: GMC wasnít the only supplier of trucks during the war. Learn more about how Chevrolet aided the war effort on this page.
  • Fire Trucks of World War II: Fire trucks are key to troop safety and supply security. Learn more about the trucks that kept troops safe during World War II.
  • Fire Trucks at War: Learn more about the vehicles and men that made up the U.S. Army engineer fighting platoons of World War II.


General History




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