Mysterious shipwreck uncovered in Lake Michigan storm surge

A mysterious shipwreck has been uncovered thanks to a Lake Michigan storm surge.

KGW8 reports that the shipwreck, which was buried just off the Muskegon coast, was revealed following a storm last week.

The West Michigan Underwater Preserve, which partners with the State of Michigan to preserve shipwrecks and coastal artifacts, was called in to examine the wreck. John Hanson of the WHUMP told Fox News that his “best guess” is that the wreck is a barge that sank in the 1930s.

“At this point our best theory is that in 1936 there was a barge being towed from Grand Haven to Muskego,” he explained, via email. “It was hauling a 1915 Bucyrus Erie Steam Crane. The barge started taking on water and the Coast Guard was called. In an effort to pull the barge faster to safety, the bow separated from the barge and the Steam Crane went into Lake Michigan still Hot, to which it exploded.”

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WMUP researchers found the wreckage of the crane eight years ago by plotting the GPS numbers, Hanson added, noting that it is now a marked dive sight.

“This newly uncovered barge is almost directly in shore a quarter-mile from the Crane,” he said.

The wreck has sparked speculation about the circumstances surrounding its sinking.
(John Hanson West Michigan Underwater Preserve)

The Great Lakes continue to reveal their shipwreck secrets. The remarkably intact wreck of a schooner that sank in 1891 was recently discovered in Lake Michigan.

Two Civil War-era schooners that collided and sank more than 140 years ago were also recently discovered near Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan.

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The wreck of a steamer has also been discovered 103 years after it was struck by a massive wave and sank in Lake Superior. Earlier this year, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum announced the discovery of the wreck of the S.R. Kirby off the Keweenaw Peninsula on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Experts were called in to examine the wreck.

Experts were called in to examine the wreck.
(John Hanson West Michigan Underwater Preserve)

Researchers found what appeared to be wreckage near Eagle Harbor, Mich., in 2018 and returned to identify the wreck with an underwater drone this year. That same year, experts said that a shipwreck discovered in Lake Erie in 2015 may be the oldest found in the famous lake.

Also in 2018, researchers announced the discovery of the 119-year-old shipwreck Margaret Olwill at the bottom of Lake Erie. The wooden steam barge sank during an 1899 nor’easter.

EXPLORERS FIND 119-YEAR-OLD SHIPWRECK AT THE BOTTOM OF LAKE ERIE

In May 2008, two explorers discovered the British warship HMS Ontario, which was lost in Lake Ontario in 1780. The HMS Ontario is the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes and the only British warship of this period still in existence in the world.

A storm surge revealed the mysterious shipwreck.

A storm surge revealed the mysterious shipwreck.
(​John Hanson West Michigan Underwater Preserve)

Later that year, the explorers — Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville — also discovered a rare 19th-century schooner sitting upright 500 feet under the waves of Lake Ontario.

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The wreck is the latest to be discovered in the Great Lakes. (John Hanson West Michigan Underwater Preserve)

The wreck is the latest to be discovered in the Great Lakes. (John Hanson West Michigan Underwater Preserve)

In 2016, Kennard was also part of a team of underwater explorers that discovered the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes. The Washington, an American-built, Canadian-owned sloop sank in Lake Ontario during a fierce storm in 1803.

Fox News’ Alex Vros, Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Robert Gearty and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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