Wreckage of ship that sank in 1891 discovered in Lake Superior

Footage of the Atlanta's wreckage, courtesy of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS).

A ship carrying a load of coal when it sank in a storm in 1891 has been discovered in Lake Superior off Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Atlanta is well-preserved in the extremely cold lake, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) said Thursday.

A picture of the Nirvana, a sister ship to the Atlanta. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

The shipwreck group posted photos and video with the name of the ship clearly visible at a depth of more than 600 feet, roughly 35 miles off Deer Park, Michigan, and near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

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β€œIt is truly ornate and still beautiful after 130 years on the bottom of Lake Superior,” said Bruce Lynn, executive director of the shipwreck society.

Read more: ‘Strange things out there’: Inside Lake Ontario’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’

The group said sonar technology had a critical role in locating the Atlanta.

The ship, which had its sails down, was being towed by another vessel when the line snapped during a storm, according to the group. Crew members got into a lifeboat, though only two survived when that boat overturned.

“No one has to ask where the Atlanta is anymore,” said Darryl Ertel, Director of Marine Operations for the GLSHS.

One of the broken masts is seen in an image of the Atlanta shipwreck. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

Video from a remotely operated vehicle confirms that all three masts of the ship broke off, which aligns with survivor accounts of the incident. They were nowhere to be found in the wreckage.

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“It is rare that we find a shipwreck that so clearly announces what it is and the nameboard of the Atlanta really stands out,” said Lynn, emphasizing the gold letters of the ship’s nameplate are still visible, despite all the time that has passed.

Read more: Burned-out ship carrying millions worth of luxury cars sinks near Portugal

According to the Detroit Free Press, there are more than 6,000 Great Lakes shipwrecks, which have taken the lives of 30,000 mariners. Of those, there are about 550 wrecks in Lake Superior, most of which remain undiscovered.

β€” With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz

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