Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shipwreck off Australia Dubbed "Significant Find"

Almost 110 years after it set off from Lakes Entrance for a regular short run to Bairnsdale and sank mysteriously off Victoria's east coast, a team of divers has discovered the Glenelg.

The iron steamer's captain Thomas English is believed to have double-checked the ships two lifeboats moments before sailing, telling bystanders it was always best to be prepared.

The lifeboats were used by the ship's only three survivors when it ran into bad weather and monstrous waves not long after leaving shore.

Survivors told a marine board inquiry they heard a crash before water began to fill the ship.

More than a century later, their evidence helped a group of wreck divers discover the Glenelg lying upright on the sea bed.

Southern Ocean Exploration group leader Mark Ryan said the team had been searching for the ship for more than three years.

The divers used the survivors' recollections along with CSIRO data and the ship's logical course to find the 135-foot wreck, which remains in surprisingly good condition.

"We believe it to be a very significant find," Mr Ryan said.

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