Explorer Says He's Found La Salle Shipwreck, But Has He?

Image: Hunt for the Griffin
French underwater archaeologist Olivia Hulot makes notes while inspecting a timber jutting from the bottom of northern Lake Michigan that experts believe could be part of the long-lost ship the Griffin.Chris Doyal / AP file

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/ Source: Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A debris field at the bottom of Lake Michigan may be the remains of the long-lost Griffin, a vessel commanded by the 17th-century French explorer known as La Salle, according to a shipwreck hunter who has sought the wreckage for decades. Steve Libert told The Associated Press that his crew found the debris this month about 120 feet (37 meters) from the spot where they removed a wooden slab a year ago that was protruding from the lake bottom. Libert believes that timber was the bowsprit of Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's ship, although scientists who joined the 2013 expedition say the slab was more likely to be an abandoned fishing net stake. "This is definitely the Griffin — I'm 99.9 percent sure it is," Libert said. "This is the real deal."

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— The Associated Press