Scuba divers urge public to help identify 19th century shipwreck - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Scuba divers urge public to help identify 19th century shipwreck

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Michigan scuba divers made a rare discovery last year that they opened to the public on Sunday: a shipwreck five miles off the coast of Lake Michigan.

Scuba diver Don Mcalhany first discovered the shipwreck in 1983, but it was so dark he didn't realize it was a shipwreck.

"Initially when we found it, we found it by Braille," said Mcalhany. "You're down there, you're looking at something, you can feel it with your hands, but you really can't see it."

He came back in October 2010 with two other scuba divers, Jim Scholz and Ken Reimer, and after more exploration, confirmed that it was a shipwreck.

"I almost drowned because I was smiling so hard that the regulator almost came out of my mouth," said Scholz.

For the past year, the three have made dozens of scuba diving trips to the site of the shipwreck, which is 72 feet under Lake Michigan. They haven't had success identifying the ship, which they're calling Mac's Wreck, so they turned to the public on Sunday for help. They made the announcement of the shipwreck at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, and urged divers to get involved.

"We want to release the information about the wreck, get the public interest, hopefully find some more divers to hopefully come out and work with us next year," said Scholz.

The shipwreck is covered in sand, which makes it difficult to learn more about it. Reimer said getting more divers involved will help uncover the shipwreck's mysteries.

"It's exciting to just try to find the history of it," Reimer said.

The divers hope to one day find out who the captain of the ship was, whether there were survivors, and why the ship sank the first place. If the divers can identify the captain and crew, they said they'll try to contact the family members of the person who owned that ship.

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