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Wreck of 18th century warship HMS Ontario found

In the US Great Lakes, the wreck of the British warship HMS Ontario, which was sunk during the US War of Independence against the British Empire, has been found. According to US media reports, the vessel is in sensational condition and rests at the bottom of Lake Ontario, the smallest body of water included in
Published: January 15, 2016 - 19:47
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 12:43
Wreck of 18th century warship HMS Ontario found

In the US Great Lakes, the wreck of the British warship HMS Ontario, which was sunk during the US War of Independence against the British Empire, has been found. According to US media reports, the vessel is in sensational condition and rests at the bottom of Lake Ontario, the smallest body of water included in the Great Lakes Region.

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HMS Ontario has for many years had a ‘holy grail’ status among the wrecks found in the region. This status is due to the fact that it is the oldest ship sunk in the area and the only British warship lying at the bottom of one of the five lakes forming the Great Lakes Region. The 22-gun ship disappeared almost without trace during a gale in 1780, taking 130 of her crew with her.

The wreck was successfully located by two enthusiasts involved in conducting underwater searches. Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville using side scan sonar and an underwater robot located and identified the vessel.

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“To find the wreck of a Revolutionary War ship in virtually intact condition is downright incredible. It is a true archaeological miracle!” – said historian Arthur Britton Smith, who is also the author of the book “The Legend of the Lake chronicles the history of the HMS Ontario”.

The ship, which measures 25 metres, has survived in sensational condition. Although many wrecks in the area are in good condition, none of them date back as far as HMS Ontario. All thanks to the cold and deep waters of the lake, which have allowed the wreck to be preserved in almost the same condition as when it sank. A similar phenomenon can be observed in cases of vessels found in the Baltic Sea, where wrecks even older than the one described here can surprise us with the condition in which they are found.

Mr Kennard and Mr Scoville said they were treating the found wreck as a war grave and did not intend to carry out any activities to raise the vessel or take up artefacts found inside and in the immediate vicinity. They also stated that legally, the wreck is still the property of the British Admiralty. Given the above, the discoverers also do not intend to release any information regarding the location of HMS Ontario. The only information they have given is the depth at which the wreck rests, which is about 150 metres, and that it sits on the bottom partly tilted to starboard, with two masts sticking out about 20 metres from the bottom.

An important clue that helped identify the wreck is the rare fact of having two stork nests, one crowning each mast.

Source: telegraph.co.uk

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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