Inside 191-foot missing shipwreck ‘preserved’ underwater in ‘Shipwreck Alley’

After going missing back in 1894, 91-foot cargo vessel Ironton has been found at the bottom of Lake Huron in North America, and miraculously it's still perfectly preserved.

During a voyage across the ironically named Shipwreck Alley way, the boat ran into trouble. In a tragic turn of events, due to a collision, it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The disastrous accident claimed the lives of five out of seven crew members, who jumped into a lifeboat, which failed to inflate.

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The other two desperately clung to the wreckage and luckily survived.

In the years since, the boat's whereabouts have remained a mystery. But now, over 100 years later, pictures have come to light showing the well-preserved wreck with the lifeboat still connected to its side.

Jeff Gray, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary superintendent, said in a statement: "The discovery illustrates how we can use the past to create a better future.

"Using this cutting-edge technology, we have not only located a pristine shipwreck lost for over a century, [but] we are also learning more about one of our nation's most important natural resources – the Great Lakes. This research will help protect Lake Huron and its rich history."

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NOAA, the state of Michigan and the Ocean Exploration Trust nonprofit, proudly discovered the ship, and claimed: "Magnificently preserved by the cold freshwater of the Great Lakes for over a century, the 191-foot Ironton rests upright with its three masts still standing."

The organisation then elaborated on the events of what happened on the saddening night of its sinking just after midnight on September 26, 1894.

Sadly, the ship's engine failed, resulting in a tow line being cut from the steamer that was pulling the vessel. Consequently, the vessel ended up adrift.

NOAA explained: "Ironton's crew found themselves suddenly adrift in the dark and at the mercy of Lake Huron's wind-blown seas.

"Under the direction of Captain Peter Girard, they fought to regain control of the ship, firing up the vessel's auxiliary steam engine to help set the struggling ship's sails."

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But alas, Ironton crashed into steamer, the Ohio, and simply couldn't recover.

NOAA added: "The two vessels separated after the impact, both fatally damaged. Ironton's bow tore a 12-foot diameter hole into Ohio's wooden hull.

"Heavily laden with cargo, Ohio sank quickly, with all 16 crew escaping on lifeboats. Nearby ships rescued the sailors."

In 2017, researchers found the Ohio, giving them fresh hope that they could eventually discover Ironton too.

They claimed: "The researchers expanded the search area. Persistence and determination were rewarded when the sonar returned an image from the lakebed of an unmistakable shipwreck – and one that matched the description of Ironton."

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