November 24, 2009--
The "ghost ship" of the Yukon is a specter no more.
Recently photographed for the first time, the gold rush-era sternwheeler A.J. Goddard
was discovered sitting upright and remarkably intact in a lake in the Yukon Territory
, Canada (see map
), in July 2008. (Watch an underwater video of the newly explored wreck.
Like an early 20th-century snapshot, "everything is just like it was when it went down in that late October storm in 1901," said project leader John Pollack
, a nautical archaeologist and National Geographic Society Waitts
grantee. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
The five crewmen's boots, kicked off in haste as they abandoned ship, were found on the deck. Fresh firewood was still in the boiler, and cooking pots and other utensils were scattered about. Axes lay on deck where the men, in a last-ditch effort, had tried to cut away the boat they'd been towing. (Related pictures: "Blackbeard Pirate Relics, Gold Found."
But once water started sloshing over the iron steamship's deck, "this thing went down like a submarine," Pollack said. Three of the men drowned.
Finding such a well-preserved wreck is unprecedented in the Yukon, Pollack added. "This is about as good as it gets."
Photograph courtesy Donnie Reid