U.S. maritime archaeologists say they have discovered two shipwrecks in northern Lake Huron believed to be steamers that sunk more than a century ago.
Researchers announced Friday that they have confirmed the discoveries of the wooden freighter Ohio, which sank in 1894 and the steel-hulled steamer Choctaw, which went down in 1915.
Officials say the 202-foot-long Ohio was loaded with grain when a passing schooner collided with it, sinking both vessels. Five crew members from the schooner, which has never been found, died in the accident.
The 266-foot Choctaw was carrying coal when it was struck by a Canadian Steamship Company freighter in dense fog. All crew members from both vessels were rescued from that accident.
Researchers with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary say they found evidence of the vessels in May while using high-resolution sonar to map the bottom of Lake Huron.
The scientists say they sent remotely operated vehicles into the water in recent weeks to get video evidence of the vessels and to confirm their identities.
Officials say the vessels are well-preserved in the Great Lakes’ cold freshwater and say in the future they would like to open the sites to public diving.
Researchers say they believe there are about 200 shipwrecks in a 4,300-square-mile sanctuary of Lake Huron, with about half of the shipwrecks discovered.