River Buddha

 The Dive Detectives search the mysterious Mekong River in Laos – home to lethal rapids and a century-old mystery of a missing ship carrying ancient treasure.  Removed in 1910 by Laos’s French colonial masters, these cultural artifacts were loaded on board the gunboat La Grandière in an effort to bring them back to France, but legend has it the golden Buddha statues and art objects also carried a “deadly curse” – one that would doom anyone foolish enough to try and remove them. The ship entered the rapids south of Louangphrabang and struck a submerged rock – sinking the vessel and drowning the crew. 


The section of Mekong that claimed La Grandière is incredibly dangerous. Few divers have ever penetrated its violent current and zero visibility. With the churning water and jagged rocks, one mistake here could be fatal. The Fletchers take on one of the most challenging dives of their career.  By employing cutting-edge technology—a special military-grade acoustic camera that will allow the Team to “see” underwater, the Dive Detectives attempt a nearly impossible mission.


The search for the wreck also takes them two continents away to Grenoble, France, where the Fletchers pick up the trail of General Leon Marie Eugene de Beylie – the man who led the original doomed expedition. Through meetings with surviving family members and art experts, they learn how de Beylie used his Asian postings as a way of amassing a rare art collection back in France.

Dive Detective - River Buddha


The Team also discovers that in 1964 there was a plan to locate the treasure – this time involving the British government in an effort to increase their influence in Laos and, possibly, deliver a “smack in the eye” to the French.” They travel to the UK to meet with the only known surviving official involved with the plan, who informs them that although the government quashed the venture – another independent attempt was made in 1968. In this case some brave divers made it into the Mekong but whether they were able to locate the artifacts is unknown. The plane that was to carry them away crashed back into the Mekong shortly after take-off, killing all on board and adding another layer to the mystery.


In Laos, Warren’s investigation yields a local fisherman who was an eyewitness to the crash and can lead the Team directly to the site. They explore that location, as well as ground zero for the sinking of La Grandière in the hopes that they can find a way to dive within the river, and that treasure guarded by the power of the Mekong can be revealed.