VIDEO: Shipwreck discovered at bottom of Lake Superior after 130 years
On May 4, 1891, the Atlanta sank to the bottom of Lake Superior.
WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. (WILX) - The video, captured by underwater cameras, drifts across promising wreckage. It could be the ship the researchers are looking for, but at first the water is too murky to make out identifying markers. Yet, with each passing moment, the picture is becoming clearer. More and more of the ship, resting at the bottom of a Great Lake, comes into view.
Voices of the researchers viewing the video feed can be heard trying to make sense of what they’re seeing.
“... Is that a tiller? I’ve never seen a mechanism like that before...”
“... Nelson had a wheel though, that looks like a tiller...”
“... Ah, there’s the wheel...”
Then, one of the researchers viewing the feed spots something.
He shouts, “Atlanta! It’s totally the Atlanta!”
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) has announced the discovery of the 172-foot schooner-barge Atlanta. The ship, once thought forever lost, was recently found 35 miles off the coast of Deer Park, Mich., in 650 feet of water in Lake Superior.
Shipwreck hunting can be tedious. In the summer of 2021, more than 2,500 miles of Lake Superior were mapped by Marine Sonic Technology in partnership with the GLSHS using Side Scan Sonar - Marine Sonic Technology.
The full video of the discovery can be viewed HERE.
On May 4, 1891, the Atlanta sank to the bottom of Lake Superior. It was carrying a load of coal in tow of the steamer Wilhelm when both vessels were caught in a northwest gale. The storm was too intense for the towline, which snapped, leaving the ship helpless.
“With no sails, the Atlanta was soon at the mercy of the lake, and the crew took to the lifeboat,” GLSHS said. “They pulled at the oars for several hours and eventually came within sight of the Crisp Point Life-Saving Station. While attempting to land their small boat near the station, it overturned and only two of the crew made it safely to the beach.”
Crisp Point Lighthouse is about 24 miles east of Deer Park.
Due to the time in the frigid depths of Lake Superior, the Atlanta is “a wonderfully preserved shipwreck” according to GLSHS.
“It is rare that we find a shipwreck that so clearly announces what it is and the name-board of the Atlanta really stands out,” said Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the GLSHS. “It is truly ornate, and still beautiful after 130 years on the bottom of Lake Superior.”
“No one has to ask where the Atlanta is anymore,” Director of Marine Operations, Darryl Ertel for the GLSHS said.
Survivors of the wreck said all three masts were damaged and broke off during the storm. Video from an ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) proves all three masts broke off flush with the deck and are nowhere to be found.
In October, GLSHS announced three shipwrecks had been found at the bottom of Lake Superior.
See a gallery of the photos from the Atlanta below.
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