Michael C Barnette measuring the wreck of the SS Cotopaxi

One of the Bermuda Triangle’s Greatest Mysteries May Have Been Solved!

While filming Shipwreck Secrets, Michael Barnette and his team believe they have located the SS Cotopaxi, a cargo ship that vanished without a trace almost 100 years ago. Shipwreck Secrets premieres Sunday, February 9 at 8p ET on Science Channel.

A team of experts are on a quest to solve a nearly 100-year-old Bermuda Triangle mystery. An American steam ship set sail off the coast of Charleston South Carolina on November 29, 1925. The ship, named the SS Cotopaxi, was to deliver a shipment of coal to Havana, Cuba — but it never arrived. The ship and its 32 crew members were declared missing, and despite extensive investigation, no trace of wreckage has ever been discovered. The mystery surrounding this disappearance has only grown with time and has long been billed as one of the Bermuda Triangle’s biggest secrets.

Marine biologist and shipwreck explorer, Michael Barnette, believes that his team has uncovered the fate of the SS Cotopaxi. Records show that a distress signal was sent out on December 1, 1925 and was picked up in Jacksonville, Florida — placing the ship in the area known for decades as “Bear Wreck” off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida.



Michael C Barnette on the wreck of the SS Cotopaxi searching for clues.

Using a Remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), nicknamed Baxter, Barnette and his crew scanned the “Bear Wreck” search area, examining constructive similarities between the underwater wreckage and the layout of the Cotopaxi. And yes, there are striking similarities.

But the location of the Cotopaxi isn’t the whole story. Barnette and his team of experts are not only looking to prove that “Bear Wreck” is in fact the Cotopaxi, but they are constructing a theory about what happened to the ship using research that includes insurance records and dives to the site.

According to Barnette’s account, there were two major contributing factors to the ship’s demise--an unexpected storm and a ship that was ill-equipped to deal with dangerous weather.

Barnette’s research showed that the wooden hatch covers for the ship's cargo holds were in a state of dilapidation. This allowed water from rough weather to flood the deck below. Barnette said, at that point, the ship would have been doomed and the situation would have gone from “bad to catastrophic in very short order”.

Shipwreck Secrets premieres Sunday, February 9 at 8p ET on Science Channel.

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