Intact, 125+ Year Old Shipwreck Found in Lake Huron
This is one heck of a discovery.
The Ocean Exploration Trust, along with NOAA and the state of Michigan, have discovered an intact shipwreck from 1894 on the bottom of Lake Huron.
If you don't know, the Great Lakes act as the final resting place for an estimated 6,000 ships and vessels. And, clearly, researchers continue to find more as they continue to explore the lakes.
This particular vessel, known as Ironton, was found in Lake Huron's Shipwreck Alley, a stretch of water that has proved treacherous for ships in the past.
About the Ship
The Ironton originally departed from Ohio on Lake Eerie and headed for Marquette, Michigan. However, the ship was actually being towed by the Charles J. Kershaw. Unfortunately, on September 26th of 1894, the Kershaw stalled. With the threat of the Ironton drifting into the disabled vessel, the line was cut leaving the Ironton freely floating on Lake Huron.
It should also be mentioned that this happened at night. With no lights and no tow line guiding them, the 7 crewmembers on board attempted to get the steam engine started. The ship had sails but, they were apparently struggling in the wind.
As the crewmembers tried to steer the ship, it veered even further off course and directly into the path of the 203-foot wooden freighter name Ohio. The ships collided head-on. While the Ohio sank immediately, the Ironton continued to drift away from nearby ships attempting to lend aid to crewmen trying to escape.
The crew of the Ironton drifted for over an hour as they tried to save the ship but, eventually, concluded that it was pointless and retreated to their lifeboats. Here's where it gets even more tragic. The line that tied the lifeboat to the ship was never untied.
As the Ironton sank beneath the surface, it took the lifeboat with it along with. Only two of the crewmembers survived. Read more here.
Finding the Shipwreck
Even with survivor's accounts, the exact location of what remained of the Ironton was unknown for over 125 years. Until now.
Found hundreds of feet below the surface, the Ironton was surprisingly well preserved and, judging by the radar, mostly intact. You can see the radar image overlayed with another in this screenshot:
There's no doubt that's a shipwreck.
While the wreck was spotted in 2021, further exploration has now confirmed the ship to be the 191-foot previously lost Ironwood. Check out the video below:
The ship is now a part of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary which works to protect these shipwrecks along with educating the local community about the rich history lying beneath the surface.
Read more about the discovery of the Ironton, the work of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and more here.
This shipwreck may have been found hundreds of feet beneath the surface. But, there are plenty of shipwrecks around Michigan you can see right now with Google Earth.
Check it out: