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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Default Century-old shipwreck discovered in Lake Superior

    Found a century later
    Century-old shipwreck discovered in Lake Superior
    Associated Press
    Published: 9/10/2007 12:33 AMSend To:

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Explorers have discovered a century-old shipwrecked ore carrier that sank mysteriously during a Lake Superior storm less than two months after it was launched.

    All but one of the Cyprus' 23 crew members died in the Oct. 11, 1907, disaster. A team with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society found the wreckage last month about 460 feet beneath the surface and planned to announce the discovery Monday, said Tom Farnquist, the group's executive director.

    The Great Lakes are littered with thousands of shipwrecks. But the Cyprus is among the more puzzling -- especially because it foundered on just its second voyage, while hauling iron ore from Superior, Wis., to Buffalo, N.Y.

    The 420-foot-long ship is about eight miles north of Deer Park, a village in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula, where lone survivor Charles G. Pitz stumbled ashore after floating aboard a life raft for nearly seven hours. He died in 1961, after a long career as a mariner.

    Pitz's great-niece, Ann Sanborn, said she hoped the discovery would lead to an explanation of the Cyprus' fate.

    "The people who died on that vessel deserve that the truth be brought out, whatever that truth is," said Sanborn, a former sailor. She is now an associate professor in the marine transportation department of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.

    Built in Lorain, Ohio, the Cyprus was launched Aug. 17, 1907. It was as "seaworthy a vessel as has ever been turned out by a lake ship yard," The Marine Review, a Cleveland trade publication, said after the sinking.

    The gale in which the ship perished was "so moderate that only the smaller class of vessels sought shelter while the big steamers scarcely noticed it at all," the Review said.

    But Pitz, the second mate, said after the wreck that the Cyprus was being pounded by northwesterly waves and developed a gradually worsening list the fatal afternoon.

    The engines finally stopped and crew members donned life jackets. Most headed to lifeboats, but Pitz and three others -- the captain, the first mate and a watchman -- gathered near a raft closer to the front.

    About 7:45 p.m., the Cyprus capsized and quickly sank.

    Pitz and his companions were hurled into the lake. They climbed aboard the raft and by 2 a.m. had drifted within 300 feet of land. But the raft flipped over several times in the churning surf, drowning everyone but Pitz, who washed ashore, cold and exhausted.

    All but two of the 22 victims' bodies were recovered.

    The cause of the wreck is a matter of debate. News reports speculated water had entered the Cyprus' hold through faulty hatch covers, causing the ore cargo to shift and create the dangerous list.

    Pitz insisted the hatch covers were battened down, although Sanborn, who has researched the tragedy, said water did get through them.

    "There were absolutely no doubts that there were problems with the hatches," she said in a phone interview last week.

    Hull damage is another possibility, said Farnquist of the shipwreck society.

    Fred Stonehouse, a marine historian and author in Marquette, offered another theory: The Cyprus was doomed by engine or rudder trouble that prevented the crew from staying out of deep troughs between the waves, where ships are especially vulnerable to tipovers.

    Farnquist said the shipwreck society would send its underwater cameras back to the site for further study. Two inspections have shown that half the pilot house is missing and wreckage is strewn 270 feet off the bow, he said.

    Pitz had estimated the ship was 10 miles farther offshore than it turned out to be -- one reason no one discovered the site earlier, Farnquist said.

    "It's a relief knowing that finally this ship has been located," said Bill Thorne of Sault Ste. Marie. His uncle, George Thorne, was the watchman who almost made it to shore with Pitz. His body was found three days later, still strapped to the raft.

    "Now we have a better understanding of what happened to George," Thorne said.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    03.07.10 @ 06:18 AM
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    I read about this in the morning paper. There was a show on the Discovery Channel a while back, dealing with the frequent ship sinkings upon the Great Lakes. A common denominator in this was hatch closings. Some are a result of failure, mostly due to cheap ship owners that refuse to pay for proper maintenance and upkeep to the ships, leading to them either failing to seal in the correct fashion or they are so corroded that they leak.

    What's puzzling about this incident is that the ship was upon it's second voyage, in a relatively light storm. It would be amazing if after all of this time, the cause could be determined.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  3. #3
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Hmmm, wonder if there's a song in there somewhere, eh?

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium
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    12.15.17 @ 05:52 AM
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    Ask this a-hole to go research it, he would definitely find out the reason it sank or at least make something up...



    My dad has met him and had meetings with him. He is so full of himself its disgusting.

    In truth, I hope they really find what caused the Cyprus to sink.
    Rock the Red!!!

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    "Dying ain't much of a living, boy."

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  5. #5
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    09.04.12 @ 11:15 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buschman View Post
    Ask this a-hole to go research it, he would definitely find out the reason it sank or at least make something up...



    My dad has met him and had meetings with him. He is so full of himself its disgusting.

    In truth, I hope they really find what caused the Cyprus to sink.
    Is that Ballard?
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  6. #6
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by YO!Edward View Post
    Is that Ballard?
    You are correct. That's the infamous Bob "I'm a D'Head" Ballard.
    Rock the Red!!!

    "Give Doc the shotgun. They're less apt to get nervy if he's on the street howitzer."

    "Dying ain't much of a living, boy."

    Save a Terrapin - Fear a Turtle

  7. #7
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    Damn...thats a shame that he was an asshole with your Dad. I read his Titanic and Bismark books cover-to-cover as a kid.

    I always assumed he was a cool guy and the story about his son Todd Ballard being killed in a RTA at only 21 was always pretty heart wrenching...

    Shame.
    'The whole world is watching you tonight!'

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    Recognise VH3 for what it was! - A fantastic third incarnation of the greatest band of all time!


    YO!Edward and Mishar McLeud - founding members of the III Brigade.

 

 

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