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Milwaukee steamship from 1886 found at bottom of Lake Michigan | US News

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Milwaukee steamship from 1886 found at bottom of Lake Michigan | US News

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The steamship crashed with another ship and has been found 360 feet beneath the surface of Lake Michigan (Picture: FOX17 WXMI)

A ship that sunk almost a century-and-a-half ago has been found ‘remarkably intact’ in Lake Michigan.

Explorers found the Milwaukee steamship after following clues from newspaper clippings dating back to the 1880s.

The steamship crashed with another ship in 1886 called the C. Hickox, and was found 360 feet beneath the surface of the lake.

A remote operated vehicle (ROV) was able to discover how far the steamship had sunk and was discovered last June through the use of sonar technology.

The newspaper clippings revealed the steamship travelled to Muskegon, Michigan, would then pick up lumber, and travel to Chicago, according to CBS News.

Jack van Heest piloted the ROV and said ‘visibility was excellent’ at the bottom of the lake.

‘We saw the forward mast still standing as the ROV headed down to the bottom,’ he added.

On the day of the crash there was smoke in the air from wildfires in Wisconsin but the lake was calm.

The shipwreck has been found ‘remarkably intact’ (Picture: FOX 17 WXMI)
The only known photo of the Milwaukee steamship, which sunk in Lake Michigan in 1886 (Picture: Bowling Green State University)

The two ships crashed because neither captain followed followed the then-modern navigational rules.

This required them to slow down, move to the right, and sound their steam whistles.

But the captain of the Hickox had poor visibility due to thick fog so he attempted to turn and pull his steam whistle.

A short while later, the captain smashed into the side of the Milwaukee because the chain attached to the whistle broke.

While the Milwaukee sank to the bottom of the lake to its watery grave, everyone survived by by making it safely onto the Hickox which didn’t sink.

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The Milwaukee steamship was in the wrong place at the wrong time (Picture: FOX 17 WXMI)
It sunk about 40 miles west of Holland in Michigan and was found at a depth of 360 feet (Picture: FOX 17 WXMI)

Both captains temporarily lost their licences.

At the time, the Milwaukee steamship was owned by businessman Lyman Gates Mason.

It originally had three decks, including one which was designed just for passengers.

But as the years went on the ship was repurposed for more cargo and less passengers following the Wall Street panic of 1873.

Mr Mason bought the 135-foot ship and converted it to haul lumber, but there are no known historical records about how he achieved this.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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