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Two long-missing ships discovered in northern Lake Huron

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Two shipwrecks discovered earlier this year in Lake Huron have been identified. Researchers say they’re the 202-foot Ohio and the 266-foot Choctaw, both sank in Lake Huron over one hundred years ago.

Jeff Gray is the superintendent of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He said the ships hold a lot of history within their hulls.

“We’ve found two shipwrecks that have eluded people for awhile and we’re very excited about what they can teach us archaeologically and historically. But also what they can do to open up new sites for people to explore”.

Gray said the Choctaw and the Ohio sank after to collisions with other vessels. The Ohio sank in 1894 and the Choctaw in 1915.

“These are deep water wrecks and one of the things we hope to do with future research is to develope more products for exhibits and interpretation. So we can share those with people who aren’t going to dive that deep so they can experience these incredibly preserved ships”.

Jon Bright is the Research Coordinator at the Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. He said the Choctaw had an iconic design which played a crucial part in the evolution of what Great Lakes freighters are today.   

“It’s an extremely unique vessel type considering it was one of three ever made in the entire world. It has all the significance of its’ association with the development of the Great Lakes bulk carrier design throughout the 18th and 19th century”.

Gray said the sanctuary plans to release the location of the ships in a year, so divers can explore the newly discovered relics.