In Photos: Century-Old Sunken Ship Found
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Cruising cutterDuring an underwater search off the coast of California, researchers found the wreck a U.S. Coast Guard ship that sank 100 years ago. Though the vessel is now just a steel skeleton at the bottom of the seafloor, the researchers were able to identify it as the McCulloch. [Read the full story on the McCulloch shipwreck]
The McCulloch had a 20-year career that included battles in the Spanish-American war and patrols along the Alaskan coast. The ship met its end on the foggy morning of June 13, 1917, when it collided with the SS Governor, a passenger steamship.
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McCulloch sinksAccording to accounts of the accident, the crew stood at attention in their lifeboats as their ship went down.
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One casualtyEveryone made it off the vessel alive, but one crewmember, John Arvid Johansson, died a few days later. Robert Grassow, a carpenter aboard the McCulloch, described finding a badly injured Johansson in his bunk and bringing him off the boat: “There was nobody else around, so I took some of the wreckage away and there was a piece of wood eight inches long stuck in his side. The master-at-arms passed the word for men to carry him to a surf boat.”
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First cluesA previous multibeam sonar survey conducted in 2015 identified a shipwreck site off Point Conception, California.
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Search toolsThen in October 2016, researchers sent this VideoRay Mission Specialist remotely operated vehicle (ROV) down to the seafloor to investigate further.
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Torpedo tubeThe researchers first confirmed that the sunken vessel they found was in fact the McColloch by identifying its 15-inch torpedo tube molded into the bow stem, now covered with anemones.
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Propeller bladeThey spotted other notable features like this blade from the ship's 11-foot bronze propeller, now sticking out of the seafloor sediment.
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Ghost ship full of lifeToday, the wreck hosts a diversity of marine creatures. The vermillion rockfish shown here is swimming around a skylight collapsed inside the officer's quarters.