Missing Shipwreck That Claimed Captain’s Life Found Discovered In Lake Superior After 74 Years


We all know well that the Great Lakes are littered with shipwrecks; It's just a matter of finding them. A researcher has managed to find the missing SS Arlington, long thought lost beneath the waves, after devoting an entire decade of time and resources to find it. After arriving for help, he was able to identify with certainty that the wreck was indeed the SS Arlington.

Discovery of the SS Arlington

After 10 years of dedicated searching on Lake Superior, researcher Dan Fountain finally found something at the bottom of the lake using remote sensing technology. After their discovery, they contacted the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society for help determining what exactly they had found. In 2023, Fountain and a team from the Society took a sonar device to the area, where they were able to confirm that what they found was indeed a shipwreck.

The shipwreck, located off Copper Harbor, Michigan, about 35 miles north of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, was identified as the 244-foot SS Arlington after an underwater drone discovered the wreck approximately 650 feet underwater . The discovery was a surprise, as the ship had been missing since sinking, and video footage showed the state of the wreck, with her fallen smokestack and her steering wheel still intact.

Before she sank, the SS Arlington was a Canadian bulk carrier captained by veteran Great Lakes sailor, Frederick "Titty Bug" Burke. On April 30, 1940, the ship, fully loaded with wheat, departed Port Arthur, Ontario for Lake Superior. It was headed for Owen Sound, about 1,000 miles east of Lake Huron, along with another ship named Collingwood.

Throughout the journey, both ships encountered dense fog, which over time turned into a severe storm. Arlington's first mate, Junius Mackesy, ordered the ship to adjust its course, moving north closer to the Canadian coast to provide some type of protection from the intense winds and storm surge. However, Captain Burke reversed this order and sent the ship back into dangerous open waters. This would prove to be a huge mistake, like 4:30 in the morning. On 1 May, Chief Engineer Fred Gilbert raised the alarm that the ship was sinking.

Captain Burke's Secret

In a statement from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, they reported that, "Fearing for their lives, and without orders from Captain Burke, the crew began to abandon ship on their own. Fortunately, everyone returned safely to Arlington. and reached the safety of Collingwood...all except Captain 'Tatty Bug' Burke.' Contemporaneous reports state that as the ship was going down, Burke was seen near the ship's pilothouse, waving to Collingwood as he sank with the ship. He fled with the ship rather than fleeing with the rest of his crew. Why it went down together remains a mystery till date.

While the mystery remains a puzzle to researchers, the society's executive director, Bruce Lynn, said the discovery was a direct result of teamwork. “These goals don't always mean anything... but this time it was an absolute shipwreck. A shipwreck with an interesting and perhaps mysterious story. If Dan had not contacted us, we would never have located Arlington ... and we certainly would not know as much about his story as we do today,'' he said.

Read more: A father and daughter find a 152-year-old shipwreck while fishing in Green Bay

Fountain said of the discovery, “It's exciting to find Arlington so far out in the lake, solving just one more of the many mysteries of Lake Superior. I hope this final chapter of his story can provide Captain Burke's family some closure.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.