Deep diver discovers historic sunken ship in Lake Huron

CANTON, Michigan (AP) ― A whaleback ship believed to have sunk in Lake Huron nearly a century ago has been discovered.

Deep diver David Trotter found the S.S. Clifton in September 2016 after beginning his search three decades ago, WZZM-TV reported.

“The S.S. Clifton has been on many wreck-hunter’s bucket lists ever since she vanished in 1924,” he said. “Of the remaining shipwrecks left to find in the Great Lakes, the Clifton would easily be number one.”

Trotter said the ship was located about 100 miles south of where several shipwreck hunters believed the Clifton sunk.

“Last sightings are not necessarily confirmation of where an event happened, and that couldn’t be more true than in this particular case,” he said.

Trotter said he didn’t immediately announce the discovery because he wanted his dive team to further investigate and document the ship this summer.

“We made nine separate expeditions out to the Clifton wreck site, during July and August,” he said. “The visibility is much better at that depth during the summer months, so we could capture far better footage, in addition to really exploring the vessel, both inside and out.”

He said he wants to understand what caused the ship to sink. Divers haven’t been able to find a reason for the sinking from a mechanical standpoint.

Trotter plans to continue venturing out to the site for more documentation.

“The only whaleback steamer that was lost in Lake Huron was the Clifton, and her disappearance has been one of the Great Lakes’ greatest mysteries,” he said. “Historical records will validate much of the information we have pulled up from the wreck, and will provide historians new primary source information about this shipwreck.”


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