Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cool - the wreck of the ship General Anthony Wayne found in Lake Erie

After sinking 157 years ago in Lake Erie, the sidewheel steamer General Anthony Wayne has been discovered by Thomas Kowalczk 8 miles northeast of Vermillion, Ohio.

Located in 50 feet of water, the wreck is eminently divable, and apparently is in (at least) two pieces - given the boiler on the ship exploded, I'd bet there's a pretty nice sized debris field.

From the Detroit News:
The side-wheel steamship, named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, sank in April 1850 while en route from the Toledo area to Buffalo, N.Y. Thirty-eight of the 93 passengers and crew on board died.

"I researched everything I could about it and knew the general area where the ship went down," Kowalczk said. "I laid out a grid search pattern and starting hunting."

Kowalczk saw an image of the wreckage on his sonar screen in September. He dived down in May and photographed the wreckage, which is in two sections.

Kowalczk and other members of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers plan to survey the wreck later this summer when underwater visibility improves.

The wreck belongs to the state and salvaging it is illegal, but divers can visit what is left of the ship after it is surveyed and the coordinates are disclosed, said Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the historical society.

Congrats to Kowalczk on a great discovery, finding a lost ship is many a diver's and explorer's dream.

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