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Deep Dive: Mysterious Lost Cargo Ship Discovered 650 Feet Beneath Lake Superior's Surface

May Day Shipwreck on Great Lakes From 1940 Found
Source: Unsplash

The S.S. Arlington sailed for 27 years.

Feb. 15 2024, Published 1:02 p.m. ET

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Beneath the vast expanse of the Great Lakes lies a recent discovery that rivals the length of a hockey rink.

A cargo vessel dating back to the early 1900s was recently found resting deep beneath the waters of Lake Superior.

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The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society confirmed recently that the Arlington, a ship lost in the mists of time, now lies buried approximately 35 miles north of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, near the border between the United States and Canada.

Researcher Dan Fountain utilized remote sensing technology to locate the sunken vessel. The data showed a “deep anomaly” detected beneath the surface near Copper Harbor, Michigan, which prompted further investigation, subsequently verified by the society's own sonar equipment.

As recounted by WDIV-TV, the Arlington met its fate on a foggy spring night in 1940, while en route from one port in Ontario to another, accompanied by the larger freighter Collingwood.

Their intended course traversed Lake Superior and Lake Huron, yet an unforeseen storm on Lake Superior added a layer of complexity to the journey, possibly disorienting the crew.

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Historical records indicate that amid the chaos, the first mate suggested steering closer to the Canadian North Shore for shelter from the elements. However, Captain Frederick “Tatey Bug” Burke, in his first year of captaincy, overruled the decision and opted to maintain course across the open lake.

Tragically, this choice proved fatal, leading to the sinking of the 244-foot-long Arlington at approximately 4:30 a.m. Only Burke succumbed to the storm, with reports suggesting he remained near the pilothouse, bidding farewell to the Collingwood moments before the Arlington descended into the depths.

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Resting 650 feet below the surface, the Arlington, formerly known as First work ship No. 192 and later as the F.P. Jones, offers a tangible link to the past.

Bruce Lynn, director of the historical society, emphasized the significance of this find, highlighting the potential for unraveling its intriguing and, perhaps, mysterious tale.

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