WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A diver who came across the remnants of a shipwreck in Florida is believed to have found the SS Cotopaxi that had gone missing for 95 years.
- Lead explorer of “Shipwreck Secrets” Michael Barnette and his team revealed that documents about the ship supported evidence from dives at the site where the wreck was found.
- The SS Cotopaxi sailed from Charleston, South Carolina carrying 32 passengers on Nov. 19, 1925 to Havana, Cuba where they inexplicably disappeared along the way.
Nearly a century after disappearing near the Bermuda Triangle, the missing wreck of the SS Cotopaxi has been discovered off the coast at St. Augustine, Florida.
The SS Cotopaxi, a steam-powered bulk carrier, sailed from Charleston, South Carolina on Nov. 29, 1925 to Havana, Cuba, carrying 32 passengers. It vanished along the way. No bodies have been recovered and the ship’s whereabouts were unknown until now.
Diver, researcher and the head explorer of a new Science Channel series called “Shipwreck Secrets” Michael Barnette went on in one of his regular dives in the summer of 2019 purposely to help identify local wrecks. But while swimming in an area known as Bear Wreck, he came across the remains of what he believed to be the Cotopaxi.
“I’ve done a countless number of shipwreck dives but this one truly stood out. It was incredibly exciting,” he said.
To make sure that this was indeed the Cotopaxi, Barnette his team combed through archival ship records and learned that the Cotopaxi dispatched distress signals on Dec. 1, 1925, two days after setting sail from Charleston.
Further research established the area of the shipwreck to where the distress signals were sent out, zooming in on ‘Bear Wreck’, the area of a shipwreck found 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida.
While the ship at the site has never been identified, Barnette argued that it is the SS Cotopaxi due to evidence gathered from his dives with leading maritime archeologists at the Bear Wreck site which substantiated information including ship’s dimensions and orientation of the machinery and others.
Although St. Augustine is not within the so-called Bermuda Triangle, the part of the Atlantic where ships and planes have strangely vanished in, the ship’s unexplained disappearance led some to believe that it’s connected to the legendary area.
However, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Ocean Service do not recognize the name, saying the ocean is a very mysterious place and can be a very dangerous place when foul weather or poor navigation is involved. They added that no evidence of mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle has ever occurred with higher frequency than in any large well-traveled region of the ocean.
A scientist in 2018 supported the idea saying that storms from the north and south meet in the area causing 100 feet high rogue waves.
The dives and findings will be featured on “Shipwreck Secrets” which debuts on Feb. 9.