Mythic freighter found in Lake Superior

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Mythic freighter found in Lake Superior

June 13, 2013 - 03:04

The ship foundered and was lost on 10 November 1913, in Lake Superior during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 near Marquette, Michigan. She was carrying a load of iron ore at the time of her sinking.

Henry B. Smith was launched in 1906 and sank in a storm on Lake Superior in 1913

A group of shipwreck hunters has found a previously undiscovered wreck sitting largely intact amid a spilled load of iron ore in about 535 feet of water offshore from Marquette, Michigan, and all evidence points to it being the Smith.

The Smith arrived at Marquette on 6 November 1913 to take on iron ore. Over the next two days a southwest gale swept over Lake Superior, dropping the temperature to 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

Around 5 p.m. on November 9, the Smith loaded its last car of ore. Since the gale seemed to be in a brief lull, the big freighter immediately backed away from the dock and began to leave. As soon as the Smith left Marquette Harbor, the fierce wind returned and the storm's lull ended.

Witnesses on shore noted that the deckhands were frantically trying to close the Smith's hatches. The freighter had a total of 32 hatches; each of which requiring individual attention with locking bars, clamps, and tackle. It was a couple hours' work for even the most skilled crew so the Henry B. Smith evidently sailed into one of the worst storms in memory with unsecured hatches.

Two days after the storm blew itself out, the nearby beaches were littered with debris from the Smith. The wreckage was found high up on the beach, indicating it came ashore at the height of the storm. There were no survivors from the crew of 25.

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