1888 Shipwreck Found In San Francisco Bay

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A shipwreck that occurred in 1888 has been discovered under the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay. The ship was carrying 106 passengers when it collided with another ship that was carrying Chinese immigrants. At first, the other ship was blamed for the accident, but it was later discovered that the passenger ship the “City of Chester,” was actually to blame.

16 of the people onboard the Chester went down with the ship as the Chinese crew worked hard to rescue as many people as possible. After the investigation of the accident was over, the shipwreck was forgotten and the Chester was left lying just 200 feet below the surface of the bay.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team recently discovered the ship while charting shipping channels. Although the discovery was unexpected, it was still exciting and a display featuring the images and history of the shipwreck is planned at San Francisco's Crissy Field.

“History is made up of a lot of people who never made it into the books,” said James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Sanctuaries. “Same with this shipwreck. It was filled with everyday people who got into a situation beyond their control.”

The NOAA was not sure exactly which ship they had found or the story behind it. They had to search through newspaper articles to find out the name of the ship and the circumstances under which it sank. They were also able to find a transcription of the investigation that took place after the ship sank.

"It was sad in a way because of the loss of life," Laura Pagano, a member of the NOAA team, said. "But to be able to connect with maritime history from a wreck found ... more than 100 years ago was immensely fulfilling."

Why do you think it took so long to find the sunken ship?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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