(NewsNation) — The icy waters of Lake Michigan welcomed the S.S. John V. Moran to its depths after the cargo ship had its hull crushed by ice during a winter storm in February of 1899. Now, after 123 years, the wreck has been visited for the first time.
The underwater ship graveyard lies 400 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan and 12 miles from the shore.
In February of 1899, the S.S. John V. Moran set off from Milwaukee for Muskegon, Michigan in the middle of a winter storm. Ice from the storm became too strong and the ship never arrived.
After three years of preparation, the Blue Eyes Below Dive Team has returned to the ship, capturing stunning new images.
Deep diver Dusty Klifman said this was one of the most intact shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. Despite visiting more than 150 shipwrecks in his career, Klifman said this one was his “Mt. Everest.”
“It’s just truly a magical thing to see something so intact from so long ago,” Klifman said.
Klifman said the dive team was only able to spend about 15 minutes with the wreck because of the dangers that come with being that far underwater for an extended period of time.
But what they found was a ship in surprisingly good shape.
“When the ship sinks slow, and this one had the hull crushed in by ice a little bit so the water slowly went inside of it … When it sinks slowly, it doesn’t force the cabins off, so it remains basically intact,” Klifman said.
None of the crewmembers aboard the John V. Moran were killed when the ship sank. They, along with all the goods the ship was chartering, were able to make it off the boat before it disappeared into the depths.