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Divers searching for sunken vessels were amazed to come across a ship that had gone down in Lake Superior, the biggest lake of its kind, in 1940.
On Monday, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society and Dan Fountain, a shipwreck researcher, revealed the finding of the Arlington, a 244-foot bulk carrier, in waters approximately 650 feet deep, located 35 miles north of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.
On April 30, 1940, the Arlington departed from Port Arthur, Ontario with a full cargo of wheat and sailed towards Owen Sound, Ontario. The ship was under the leadership of Captain Frederick “Tatey Bug” Burke, a seasoned sailor of the Great Lakes.
However, during their journey across Lake Superior, the Arlington and the larger freighter, the Collingwood, faced challenges such as dense fog and a powerful storm at night. This resulted in both ships being battered, with the Arlington starting to take in water.
The first mate of the ship instructed the Arlington to follow a route near the Canadian North Shore, which would have offered protection from the elements. However, Burke overruled and directed the ship to head straight across the lake, as reported by the explorers.
On the morning of May 1, 1940, the Arlington started to sink and the chief engineer sounded the alarm. The crew stated that they abandoned the ship without orders from Captain Burke due to fear for their lives.
Everyone on the crew arrived safely at the Collingwood, except for Burke who was on the Arlington. According to reports, he was last spotted near the pilothouse of the Arlington, waving at the Collingwood, just moments before his ship disappeared into the lake.
The society responsible for investigating shipwrecks stated that the reason for Burke’s actions before his ship sank will remain a mystery.
Fountain stated that discovering Arlington in Lake Superior was thrilling and helped solve one of its many mysteries. They hope that this final piece of information about Captain Burke will bring some closure to his family.
Fountain, a resident of Negaunee, Michigan, has been using remote sensing techniques in Lake Superior for approximately ten years to locate shipwrecks. According to Bruce Lynn, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, it was thanks to Fountain’s efforts that The Arlington was found.
Lynn stated that Fountain brought up the possibility of a target in the northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Arlington was found last year by the group.
“He stated that these objectives do not always yield results, but in this case, it was undoubtedly a failure. A failure with a captivating, and possibly enigmatic narrative,” he expressed in the declaration. “If Dan had not contacted us, we may have never found the Arlington.”