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Hattie Wells: Lake Michigan Shipwreck

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Uploaded on Aug 25, 2010

This video of the shipwreck Hattie Wells was recorded in August, 2010 by SeaView Systems' (www.seaviewsystems.com) Seaeye Falcon DR ROV off of South Haven, MI.

The wreck was discovered by a combined team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency and Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates.

Built in 1867 the Hattie Wells was originally a 135' long, 3 masted schooner though in latter years of its service the vessel was lengthened 30' and the rigging was removed.

Over the years she courted disaster on a number of occasions including collision, grounding and lightning strike. After a grounding in 1892 she was given up for lost but was later salvaged as a wreck and towed back to Detroit for refit. Once again afloat, she continued in service, later as a barge.

In November 1912, hauling lumber (Hemlock, elm and pine) from Waukegan, IL to Muskegon, MI in heavy weather she was being continually swamped and was taking water. Shifting cargo took out a pilot house containing a donkey engine which powered bilge pumps. With the only means of removing water gone, the vessel was doomed to sink and so the towing tug cut the hawser and proceeded to attempt a rescue of the 5 hands on board. At considerable risk to the tug, goaded on by two plucky young stewardesses, a dramatic rescue was successfully executed and all hands were safely recovered.

Inspection team members:

Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum: glnmm.org

Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates: michiganshipwrecks.org

National Underwater and Marine Agency: numa.net

SeaView Systems, Inc.: seaviewsystems.com

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: noaa.gov

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