Captured on camera: The backstory of the historic Lake Michigan shipwrecks

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LELAND, Mich -- A crew with the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City captured several images Friday of shipwrecks hiding below the waters of Lake Michigan.

Valerie Van Heest with the Michigan Shipwrecks Research Association says these shipwrecks have been known about for decades.  The crystal clear waters of Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes provided the perfect opportunity to capture the images.

Here is the background on the three shipwrecks featured in the photos:

  • The James McBride- a steamer ship that sank in 1857, was one of the first ships to transport goods from the Atlantic Ocean into the Great Lakes.  It grounded in shallow water, very close to the shore of Sleeping Bear Dunes and has been under roughly 15 feet of water ever since.
  • The Emily and Elizabeth- Van Heest said that this ship sank in 1910 after traveling through dangerous weather.
  • The Rising Sun - This ship was also a victim of severe weather, and sank in 1917 while transporting lumber and potatoes.  Van Heest said 17 of the 18 crew members made it out during the wreck, and the 18th man was spotted the next morning on the wreck, waiving to his crew members on shore.  He slept through the whole incident.



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