Researchers Inspect Long-Lost Shipwreck, Confirm Tragic Tale Told By Survivors 128 Years Ago

[Screenshot/YouTube/Associated Press]

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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A 128-year-old tragic tale has been confirmed after researchers discovered a long-lost shipwreck in the depths of Lake Huron.

In 2019, a team of historians, underwater archaeologists and technicians located the “remarkably preserved” remains of a shipwrecked vessel, known as the Ironton, lost on a gusty night in September 1894, the Associated Press reported.

Officials with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary have kept the location and the find of the wreckage hidden as they scanned and documented the ship to prevent curious divers from disturbing the ship’s resting place before they completed their research, according to the AP. (RELATED: Experts Say Pieces Of Shipwreck Found Likely From History-Making Vessel SS Savannah)

The Ironton struck a grain hauler, sinking both vessels, according to an account by the only two survivors of the wreck. Though the Ironton’s captain and six crew members attempted to flee the sinking ship via a lifeboat, the raft was dragged to the bottom of the lake before it could detach from the doomed ship, the AP reported.

Upon inspection of the wreckage, researchers found the aforementioned lifeboat, still tethered to the Ironton — a silent confirmation of the tragic tale told by survivors, the outlet stated.

“Archaeologists study things to learn about the past. But it’s not really things that we’re studying; it’s people. And that lifeboat … really connects you to the site and reminds you of how powerful the lakes are and what it must have been like to work on them and lose people on them,” Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Jeff Gray told the AP.

“We hope this discovery helps contribute to an element of closure to the extended families of those lost on the Ironton, and the communities impacted by its loss,” Ocean Exploration Trust founder Robert Ballard stated, according to the outlet.

The sanctuary is planning to reveal the location of the wreckage in upcoming months and may put a mooring buoy at the site, the AP stated.