Steamer Shipwreck Found 103 Years After Its Disappearance

S.R. Kirby
Great Lakes Shipwreck Society

A steamer that vanished beneath the waters of Lake Superior more than a century ago has finally been found.

The S.R. Kirby was located off the coast of Eagle Harbor, Michigan, in 2018, but researchers only just returned this year to confirm its identity via drone. Researchers are now focused on documenting the wreck for its inclusion in a museum in Whitefish Point.

The ship met its tragic end in a fierce 1916 spring storm. “As the vessels closed on Eagle Harbor, MI, the Kirby was struck by a massive wave, broke-up, and quickly sank,” The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society narrated in a statement. “Of the 22-man crew, only two were rescued.”

Laden with iron — and towing another barge similarly loaded — the ship “didn’t have much of a chance in such a storm,” said Bruce Lynn, the society’s executive director. “It is probably a small miracle that other ships were in the area that morning, and helped the Hartnell and her crew to get to safety.”

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