DETROIT — A veteran Great Lakes shipwreck hunter said he and his crew believe they've found the wreck of a ship that went down in Lake Huron during a major 1913 storm.
David Trotter, of Wayne County's Canton Township, told the Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/1HpNMto ) the 436-foot Hydrus was found in July roughly 32 miles from land. He and the newspaper, which accompanied him to the site, aren't revealing the exact location.
The ship, which was hauling iron ore, was one of several that went down during the November 1913 storm, with shipwrecks killing about 250 people. The newspaper said the Hydrus' crew of 22 died, including five found dead in a lifeboat that washed up in Canada.
Each spring, Trotter assembles a group of shipwreck hunters and they follow a grid on Lake Huron, using side-scan sonar to comb the waters. Trotter was watching the sonar image of the lake bottom in July when an outline of the ship popped onto the screen.
"That's a big freighter!" Trotter yelled. "That could be the Hydrus."
Those working with Trotter have made about a half-dozen dives to the ship, which was heading toward the St. Clair River when it went down. They said they found iron ore still inside the ship and a sign in the engine room that appears to read: "Hydrus."
When told about the find of the Hydrus, Russ Green, deputy superintendent of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary that covers part of Lake Huron, called the Hydrus an "iconic shipwreck."
"It says a lot about tragedy and risk and commerce and ecology," Green said. "To see something big on the lake bottom, it sort of rekindles that connection we have with the past."
The discovery was reported ahead of the 40th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a freighter that went down in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975, killing 29 crewmen. A documentary about Trotter by Free Press photographer Eric Seals is being shown Thursday.
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com