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WWII-era shipwreck found in Lake Superior

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DETROIT -

A WWII-era shipwreck was found in over 600 feet (183 metres) of water in Lake Superior, about 35 miles (56 kilometres) north of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced.

The shipwreck society and researcher Dan Fountain announced the discovery of the Arlington, a 244-foot (74-metre) bulk carrier, on Monday, Feb. 12.

After using remote sensing data and a Marine Sonic Technology side-scan sonar, ROV dives identified the shipwreck as the Arlington in 2023.

The Arlington left Port Arthur, Ontario, on April 30, 1940. It was carrying wheat and heading for Owen Sound, Ontario, the shipwreck society said in a release.

A seasoned veteran, Captain Frederick "Tatey Bug" Burke led the Arlington and its crew.

This image provided by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society shows the wreck of the bulk carrier Arlington, a merchant ship loaded with wheat that sank in Lake Superior during a storm on May 1, 1940. (Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society via AP)

The Collingwood, a large freighter, also made its way across Lake Superior that day. There was dense fog, and by night, a storm broke out, and the Arlington began to take on water.

"The Arlington's first mate, Junis Macksey, ordered a course to hug the Canadian North Shore, which would have provided some cover from wind and waves, but Captain Burke countermanded the order...and ordered his ship back on its course across the open lake," according to the release.

At 4:30 a.m. on May 1, the Arlington began to sink, and Fred Gilbert, the ship's chief engineer, sounded the alarm.

The crew began abandoning the ship without orders from Frederick due to fear.

This image provided by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society shows the wreck of the bulk carrier Arlington, a merchant ship loaded with wheat that sank in Lake Superior during a storm on May 1, 1940. (Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society via AP)

Crew members got off the ship and made it onto the Collingwood. Everyone except Captain Burke made it off the boat.

While no one knows why Burke didn't make it off the Arlington while his crew did, reports show that he was near the pilothouse while the ship was sinking.

"One of the most important aspects of everything we do as an organization involves the concept of teamwork. This goes for our operations at Whitefish Point, as well as on the water aboard the David Boyd. We are lucky to have so many dedicated shipwreck historians and researchers as friends of GLSHS," said Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society Executive Director Bruce Lynn.

"And this was absolutely demonstrated when Marquette resident Dan Fountain approached us with a potential target near the Copper Harbor area of Lake Superior. These targets don't always amount to anything...but this time it absolutely was a shipwreck. A wreck with an interesting, and perhaps mysterious story. Had Dan not reached out to us, we might never have located the Arlington...and we certainly wouldn't know as much about her story as we do today."

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