Almost a century after vanishing in the Bermuda Triangle, the SS Cotopaxi has finally been found. On November 29, 1925, the ship that was carrying a cargo of coal left Charleston, South Carolina on its way to Havana, Cuba.
Things turned bad on December 1st when they sent out a distress signal saying that the ship was filling up with water. Aboard the vessel was Captain W.J. Meyer as well as 32 sailors. That was the last time anyone heard from the crew and the ship was never found – until now.
There was brief excitement in 2015 when several news outlets reported that the SS Cotopaxi had been recovered close to a restricted military zone off the coast of Cuba, however, those reports ended up being false. So, why should we believe that this time the ship has really been found?
According to a new Science Channel documentary called Shipwreck Secrets (which will premiere on February 9th), the missing vessel has in fact been located about 35 nautical miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida.
Marine biologist and underwater explorer Michael Barnette explored the site of a shipwreck (nicknamed the Bear Wreck which was discovered around 35 years ago) with the help of an underwater drone. He also enlisted the help of diver Al Perkins who had been exploring the site for several years. They found that the wreck was exactly the correct size as the SS Cotopaxi would have been and it was in the same area as where the distress signal was sent out. Additionally, Perkins had previously found a valve that had been made in Ecorse, Michigan – the same place as the SS Cotopaxi. Several pictures of the dive can be seen here.
With all of this information, they are almost conclusively certain that the wreckage is that of the SS Cotopaxi. “A lot of times it is very emotional because first you are excited that your theory is correct. There's also an emotional rollercoaster because you realize, ‘wait a second, this is a grave site which marks the final resting spot of the crew members that went down with the vessel’,” Barnette said, adding that there is a “responsibility to try and reach out to the families so we can help give closure to them.”