The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 6, 2013

Sunken freighter found in Lake Superior


The ship rests upright — and largely intact near Trowbridge Island — about 20 miles southeast of Thunder Bay, with the bow at a depth of 850 feet and the stern at 870 feet.

Eliason said it appears the previous record-holder for deepest wreck found in the Great Lakes is the Isaac Jenkins, discovered in Lake Ontario in about 750 feet of water.

The Scotiadoc first came to the group's attention as it searched for the Theano, another shipwreck in the area, Eliason said. Court testimony and other accounts helped the searchers narrow a point from which to start looking.

Beginning in the early 2000s, the group — which also has included Ken Merryman of Minneapolis, Kraig Smith of Rice Lake, Wis., and Randy Beebe of Duluth through the years — made periodic trips to search for the Scotiadoc, eventually acquiring a good target.

With the Henry B. Smith wreck the group found earlier this year, Eliason and his wife, Karen, had acquired a lot of raw data from government archives that also helped. They also ran a sonar unit in a grid pattern over a defined search area.

But it was only in early September that the many factors involved in the search — time, correct gear, permits from Canadian authorities and above all favorable weather — came together to allow for the group's camera to get the video footage needed to confirm the wreck's identity: the name "Scotiadoc" spelled out along the side.

The confirmation came late Sept. 7, with Eliason, Merryman and Robert Nelson of Eau Claire, Wis., aboard Merryman's boat to see the footage.

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