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Researchers find 1906 shipwreck in Lake Huron's Georgian Bay

The J.H. Jones had 30 people on board when it vanished and researchers said multiple attempts over the decades to locate the ship were unsuccessful.

DETROIT — An international team of divers has discovered the wreckage of a ship that disappeared more than 100 years ago during a storm on Lake Huron.

The team discovered the J.H. Jones on July 1 in lower Georgian Bay near Lion's Head, Ontario, The Detroit News reported. The ship had 30 people onboard when it vanished in 1906 during a storm. Only one body was found after the storm.

Researchers said multiple attempts over the decades to locate the Jones were unsuccessful. Researchers Ken Merryman, Jerry Eliason and Cris Kohl were part of the team that located the ship in July after less than two hours of searching.

"I had confidence in my research, which I began years ago," said Kohl, who has written 16 books about Great Lake shipwrecks with his wife. "After I put it all together, I told Ken (Merryman) last April that I could take him right to that shipwreck."

Robert Crawford, the 83-year-old great-grandson of Capt. James Crawford, who was lost with the Jones in 1906, accompanied the researchers.

"I never thought the wreck would be found in my lifetime," Crawford said. "But when that little image appeared on the screen, and I later watched video of the actual shipwreck that was sent up to our boat by a remote-operated camera, I was elated. I was a bit surprised that I felt far more excitement than sadness."

The ship's hull was mostly intact, though the smokestack was toppled, researchers said. Divers saw components of the steam engine, but no sign of human remains.

"It's exciting to locate such a historic shipwreck, even with its very tragic history," Merryman said. "Now the complete story of this vessel can be told because it is no longer a 'mystery wreck.' Much of its story has actually been told already — but there was always those final elements missing, namely its location, what it looks like today, and what those physical remains could reveal to us."