DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - The group that found a sunken freighter off the shore
of Marquette, Mich., this spring has found a second one in Lake Superior
that sank more than 60 years ago.
Searchers confirmed the location of the Scotiadoc in more than 850 feet of
water last month near Thunder Bay, Ontario, possibly making it the deepest
shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Jerry Eliason, of Cloquet, Minn., is part of the group that has found many
lost ships, including the long-sought-after wreck of the Henry B. Smith near
Michigan in May.
“Finding the Henry B. Smith was the entree; the Scotiadoc was the dessert,”
Eliason said. The 424-foot Scotiadoc sank after colliding with the 451-foot
freighter Burlington in 1953, killing one person.
The Scotiadoc departed Port Arthur, Ontario - part of what’s now Thunder Bay
- with a crew of 29 and nearly 260,000 bushels of wheat on June 20, 1953.
About two hours into the voyage, the Scotiadoc and the Burlington were in
the vicinity of Trowbridge Island and each ship, the court ruled, made
crucial errors as they navigated through thick fog and driving rain.
The Burlington plowed into the starboard side of the Scotiadoc at an angle
near the stern, gashing a hole in the smaller vessel as its bow scraped
along the side. Most of the Scotiadoc crew went to the port-side lifeboat,
which was launched successfully. But about a half-dozen crew members went to
the starboard-side lifeboat. In heavy seas and with several crew members in
the lifeboat, the stern slipped from the deck over the side of the sinking
ship, dropping five people about 15 feet into the frigid lake. Four of them
grabbed onto ropes and were hauled out of the water.
Wallace McDermid, 39, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, may have had some
physical limitations and apparently did get ahold of the raft. He
disappeared into the fog and was not seen again.
The ship rests upright - and largely intact near Trowbridge Island - about
20 miles southeast of Thunder Bay, with the bow at a depth of 850 feet and
the stern at 870 feet.
Eliason said it appears the previous record-holder for deepest wreck found
in the Great Lakes is the Isaac Jenkins, discovered in Lake Ontario in about
750 feet of water.
The Scotiadoc first came to the group’s attention as it searched for the
Theano, another shipwreck in the area, Eliason said. Court testimony and
other accounts helped the searchers narrow a point from which to start