In 1894, a schooner-barge named Ironton collided with a Great Lakes cargo ship called Ohio in the infamous “Shipwreck Alley” on Lake Huron. Ohiocrash I have found in 2017 by an expedition organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Now the same command announced his discovery 191-foot wreckage Ironton almost 130 years after its sinking, it is so well preserved in the cold waters of the Great Lakes that its three masts are still standing and its gear is still attached. Its discovery may help answer unanswered questions about the ship’s final hours.
Schooner barge like Ironton were part of a fleet that helped transport wheat, coal, corn, lumber, and iron ore across the Great Lakes region, towed by steamboats. At 00:30 on September 26, 1894 Ironton and another schooner Moonlighttowed by an unloaded steamer across Lake Huron Charles J. Kershaw when the ship’s engine failed. The weather was inclement, and strong winds pushed the two schooners dangerously close to the disabled steamer. fearing a collision Moonlightcrew cutout Irontontow rope, installation Ironton drifting.
Captain Peter Girard and his crew attempted to regain control of the ship, but the wind swept them into a head-on collision course with the liner. Ohio, which carried 1000 tons of grain. According to surviving crew member William Wooley, it was too dark to notice Ohio before it’s too late and Ironton hit the steamer with the bow of the starboard side, making a hole in it 12 feet wide. Ohioshell.
Ohio sank quickly, but her crew of 16 escaped in lifeboats and were rescued by neighboring ships. IrontonThe crew was less fortunate. The barge had drifted too far out of sight of the rescue boats. The crew boarded the lifeboat when the schooner sank, but no one remembered to untie the rope securing the lifeboat, so everyone was drowned along with the ship. Another survivor, William Parry, managed to get to the surface and grab the sailor’s bag. He spotted Wooley nearby, clinging to a crate, and swam up to him. They were eventually rescued by a passing steamer, but Girard and four other crew members perished.
In 2017, Thunder Bay National Marine Reserve researchers united with the NOAA Oceanic and Research Administration to search for approximately 100 lost shipwrecks that they believe sank somewhere within the sanctuary. They used unmanned aerial systems and autonomous underwater vehicles to conduct sonar scans, among other things. That’s how they found the wreckage Ohiotogether with choctawA 267-foot steel semi-whaling steamer that collided with a freighter. Wakonda in dense fog and sank on July 12, 1915. Almost all the rigging and deck equipment on both ships remained intact.
One day Ohio were found, the team conducted further research into weather and wind conditions on the fateful night of the double flood to narrow down the search area. Ironton. They collaborated with renowned researchers Robert Ballard and the Ocean Exploration Trust to map the area in 2019. titanicas well as the wreckage of the battleship Bismarck and USS Yorktown an aircraft carrier, among other finds.) Finally, in the last days of the expedition, they took a hydroacoustic image from the bottom of the lake, which clearly shows the shipwreck.
There was not enough detail on this sonar image to unambiguously identify the debris as Ironton, so the team decided to film the crash with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). These footage confirmed what they found Ironton. The site will be marked with a deep water mooring buoy to allow divers to safely visit the wreck.
“The discovery shows how we can use the past to create a better future” said Jeff Gray, director of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. “Using this cutting-edge technology, not only have we discovered a pristine shipwreck that has been lost for over a century, we are also learning more about one of our nation’s most important natural resources, the Great Lakes. Sanctuary, and this exploration will eventually lead to more discoveries about the Great Lakes and the unique collection of shipwrecks that lie at the bottom of the lake.”
Image from NOAA Listing / UNCW Underwater Vehicle Program