Salvagers in Washington State believe they have discovered a nearly 150-year-old shipwreck. At least 325 people died when the S.S. Pacific sank in November 1875.
Trained eyes can identify the shipwreck’s sonar pictures from more than 1,000 feet below the ocean.
The S.S. Pacific collided with a huge sailing ship at night while going from Seattle to San Francisco.
Northwest’s Ship-Shaped History
Jeff Hummel said that it was the first ship that would regularly take people from Seattle to San Francisco.
Estimates are 325 or more. A newspaper story published immediately after the Pacific sank included tonnes of cereals and hops, hides, 230 tonnes of coal, and a lot of gold.
Jeff Hummel has searched for the Pacific since the 1980s, spurred by his passion for history. After an extensive investigation, the project resumed in 2017.
“Eventually I located a commercial fisherman who hauled in some old coal, and just by weird chance he still had the piece, so I was able to have it chemically evaluated by a laboratory up in Alberta,” Hummel said.
His troops closed in as they matched the cruiser. 12 missions identified the ship. Pacific paddlewheels have two circular depressions.
“They fell out of the ship when it broke up near the surface and are several hundred metres away from the real wreck,” Hummel added. “It was one of the moments of realising we’d found the ship.”
Hummel can breathe now that his team has exclusive salvage rights. This wreck is among the world’s best preserved.
Salvage and rehabilitation will take years. To preserve its history, a museum will be built in Seattle with some artifacts.