Coast Guard Spots Century-Old Shipwreck in Lake Michigan

posted: 04/20/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Shipwreck in Lake Michigan
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

From Discovery News

A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard's Traverse City, Mich. station was on a routine patrol mission over northern Lake Michigan Friday, when crew members noticed a chilling sight.

Beneath the crystal clear waters of the lake -- now free of ice, but still just above freezing -- they could see the wreckage of numerous lost ships on the lake bottom. They took a series of photos and posted them to the station's Facebook page, and invited local historical buffs to help them identify the wrecks.

One of the wrecks turned out to be a century and a half old. The James McBride, a 121-foot brig was launched on April Fools Day 1848. On Oct. 19, 1857, the ship was transporting a cargo of wood from the Manitou Islands to Chicago, when she encountered a gale and was driven aground, and then abandoned as a total loss.

Another of the wrecks was the Rising Sun, a 133-foot-long wooden steamer that met its demise on Oct. 29, 1917. The ship broke up, and the remains now sit in 6 to 12 feet of water.

According to an article by local historian George Weeks, the Rising Sun was headed to High Island to get a load of potatoes, rutabagas and lumber, when it was caught in a winter storm. The crew attempted to reach the shore, but one of the ship's anchors failed to hold and then became caught in a place where each wave that crashed into the ship slammed it into the lake bottom. The captain and four of the ship's six sailors were swept away to their deaths. The two survivors managed to hang on and survive though the night.

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Learn more about shipwrecks:

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Futurist: Scouring for Shipwrecks

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