Researchers have released details about the nearly 150-year-old shipwreck of one of the most deadly maritime disasters in the history Pacific Northwest.
Maritime archeologists from Rockfish Inc. claim to have discovered the wreck of the S.S. Pacific. The shipwreck claimed over 300 lives in November 1875. Fox13 Seattle reported.
The ship left Olympia on Nov. 4th 1875 at 5:00 AM. It made many stops to pick up wealthy passengers connected to the 1870s Pacific Northwest gold rush. Research suggests that the wreckage could contain valuable artifacts such as gold.
“One of the survivors, his bunk was right at impact. He said that it was gushing in, and 20 minutes later, the ship was on its bottom.” Jeff Hummel, Rockfish Inc., spoke out about the wreck, which happened after a “midwater collision” off Cape Flattery.
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Eyewitness accounts, which have been collected by many over the years, describe a horrifying ordeal in which passengers were crushed during panic aboard and lifeboats were rendered useless after being filled with water to balance steam-powered ship.
Hummel said that the 40-strong team, along with the Northwest Shipwreck Alliance spent over 2 million dollars on 12 expeditions to find the wreck. They also spent hours researching locations where fishermen had found coal while trawling in search of fish.
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This information was complemented by decades of archival data that was made more difficult by an historically severe storm striking the region around when the ship went down. The team was able to pinpoint the location approximately 40 miles south from Cape Flattery, and 23 miles off the coast.
Two remotely operated vehicles were created by the team that captured side-scan sonar images. These were later verified with optical cameras to identify the ship. The crew hopes that the “world-class discovery” will yield anything, including unopened wine bottles, woolen clothing, and other artifacts that can help tell the story about the victims.
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Hummel stated that it looks completely different to what anyone could have imagined. It looks at first like it is the wrong size, shape, and everything. Slowly, you start to use the robots and begin to imagine things. Finally, we saw the ship.
Next, the crew will attempt to recover items from the ship. This work is expected to begin in 2023 or 20, according the crew.