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Two Civil War-era schooners that collided and sank in Lake Michigan for more than 140 years ago, were discovered through a scuba diver and a marine history buff in search of a wrecked ship.
The Peshtigo – a 161-foot-long vessel with the coal, and the Pc. Mr Andrews – on a 143-meter-long and carrying crude oil, are believed to have been sunk in 1878, after they had hit each other between the Beaver and the Fox islands, west of Charlevoix, Michigan.
Marine historian Brendon Baillod, told the Associated Press that it’s old news and said the accident was caused by a confusion in the source of the flares. He said that two of the Peshtigo crew members were lost, while the survivors were rescued by a passing schooner.
The ships have been lost to history.
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In The Month Of August. 24, 2019, photo by John Janzen, the diver, John Scoles maneuvers around the wreck of the schooners Peshtigo, and Pc. Andrews, in 1878, in the vicinity of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. A group of maritime enthusiasts of history, which is run by the Boyne City, Michigan, scuba diver, and explorer, Bernie Hellstrom, the discovery of the schooners. The site is located in 2010, Hellstrom, during one of his many trips to explore all of the Beaver Island archipelago.
John Janzen, via AP)
That is, it is up to the diver Bernie Hellstrom, 63, of Boyne City, Mich., and came to an obstruction at depth of about 200 m, down to the bottom of Lake Michigan near Beaver Island about 10 years ago.
“I’ve had hundreds of trips to Beaver Island, and in every trip I go on with the siren on,” he told the AP on Friday. “But if you do happen to see something that is not normal, you can go back to. A lot of you are no different than the fish in the schools. It was only 400 metres away from the boat. There is nothing major missing.”
In June of last year, he returned to the area armed and with a custom camera system and dive into the cold depths of the northern Lake Michigan shoreline. What he found was that the two ships are lost to history.
The Peshtigo, and Pc. Andrew, about 10 feet apart from each other, with their poles on top of each other. The body of one of the ships has a huge edge.
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Hellstrom brought in technical divers to record video of the wreckage, and Baillod have been engaged in order to help them to identify the ships.
In This Aug. 24, 2019, photo by John Janzen, showing a portion of the wreck of the schooners Peshtigo, and Pc. Andrews, in 1878, in the vicinity of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan.
John Janzen, via AP)
According to historians, an estimated 6,000 shipwrecks sitting at the bottom of the Great Lakes region. It was believed for many years, the Peshtigo, and Pc. Mr. Andrews, were the two ships that sank in the eastern part of Lake Huron.
Wayne Lusardi, Michigan’s state maritime archaeologist, told the AP that the finding of the true resting place of both ships, it was a “fantastic discovery.”
“You could argue that each new discovery is very important because it really gives you a first look at something that has been lost, and in the absence of such a long period of time,” he said.
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He added that the two ships had been mistakenly identified as two of the ships in the Strait of Mackinac for decades to come.”
“Right now, it begs the question: What are those ships?” Lusardi said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.