Friday, July 15, 2005


Three shipwrecks located in the Great Lakes including S.S. Michigan


Niles Daily Star
July 11, 2005

HOLLAND - A recent expedition by Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates has led to the discovery of the final location of the Great Lakes passenger steamer S.S. Michigan, the remains of the car ferry Ann Arbor 5 and an unnamed barge.

The S.S. Michigan is one of MSRA's six most-sought-after shipwrecks and is the subject of a 2004 documentary called, "ICEBOUND! The Ordeal of the S.S. Michigan."

The S.S. Michigan sank on March 19, 1885, just four years after her launch.

The 30-man crew made it safely to shore after being stranded on the ice for 42 days.

MSRA board members Craig Rich, Valerie and Jack van Heest, Jan Miller and Ross Richardson teamed up with Great lakes shipwreck hunter David Trotter for the search in early June.

The vessel was found upright in more than 270 feet of water off Holland, making it a "technical dive" for experts only.

MSRA-affiliated scuba divers have made several deep dives to the wreck, beginning the process of documentation.

So far, they have seen the ship's massive anchors, the ship's wheel and the smokestack. Most intriguing, they located the capstan with the name "S.S. Michigan" and "Wyandotte, Michigan" inscribed on it. There is no doubt as to the identity of this shipwreck.

Built in 1881 as a sister ship to the S.S. Wisconsin by the Detroit Dry Dock Co. at Wyandotte for the Goodrich Transportation Co., the S.S. Michigan was a sturdy iron-hulled passenger steamer. She was 204 feet long and 35 feet wide, powered by a compound engine, which drove a single propeller.

The discovery of the Michigan came exactly one year after the team discovered an unnamed barge in the same general location.Due to its clean condition and lack of equipment, this barge is believed to have been scuttled.

The site, off Holland, will make a fine technical-diver training location since it lies in 275 feet of water.

Earlier this year, a joint expedition between MSRA and Clive Cussler's National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA) produced a number of interesting finds, but the location of Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 remains a mystery. The DC-4 airliner crashed into Lake Michigan off South Haven in 1950 with the loss of all 58 persons aboard.

Flight 2501 was en route from New York to Minneapolis when it encountered a severe thunderstorm late in the evening of June 23, 1950. Three crewmembers and 55 passengers perished in the disaster.


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