DETROIT (AP) — A diver who’s also a maritime history buff found two schooners that collided and sank into the cold depths of northern Lake Michigan more than 140 years ago.
Bernie Hellstrom, of Boyne City, Michigan, says he was looking for shipwrecks about 10 years ago when a depth sounder on his boat noted a large obstruction about 200 feet (61 meters) down on the lake bottom near Beaver Island.
Hellstrom says he returned to the area in June with a custom-made camera system and discovered the Peshtigo and St. Andrews about 10 feet (3 meters) apart.
The ships collided 1878, but it initially was believed they sank in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron.
Madison, Wisconsin-based marine historian Brendon Baillod says he examined old news accounts and other records that placed the wreck near Beaver Island.
Like most of the 10 wrecks previously discovered, this one is entombed in the muck, a ghostly witness to America's fight for freedom, shrouded with a mound of silt and oyster shells.