Watch: Railroad car ferry found 110 years after sinking in Lake Michigan

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A team of Minnesota-based shipwreck hunters announced they have found the wreckage of the Pere Marquette 18, a railroad car ferry that sank into Lake Michigan 110 years ago.

Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman said they used a combination of towed sonar and a transom mount to find the Pere Marquette 18 about 500 feet under the surface of the water some 25 miles from the coast of Sheboygan, Wis.


"We consider it arguably the most desirable wreck, with the most gravitas, in Lake Michigan," Eliason told

The men said the wreckage indicates the ship sank quickly and impacted the floor of the lake strongly. Eliason said the bow is now sticking up at a 30 to 40 foot angle.

"It's a lot steeper than any other wreck we've seen," he said.

The cause of the ferry's sinking remains a mystery. Captain Peter Kilty and his officers were among the 29 people who went down with the ship. There were originally 62 people and 29 railroad cars onboard the ferry when it departed Ludington, Mich., on its route to Milwaukee on Sept. 9, 1910.

The 338-foot long ship went down just as its sister ship, the Pere Marquette 17, arrived on the scene to evacuate survivors.


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