1901 San Francisco Bay ship wreck found

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Scientists have located the wreckage of a passenger ship that crashed in 1901 near the site of what is now the Golden Gate Bridge, killing 128 people.

The ship, named the City of Rio de Janeiro, was discovered with the help of a remote submersible last month in 287 feet of water about a half mile from San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1vFZpzF ).

The ship was carrying 210 passengers, many of them Chinese emigrants, when it crashed on rocks in heavy fog. It went down in 10 minutes, with many of the passengers trapped in their berths below. Their bodies were never recovered.

"Many of these people were about to start a new life in a new country," said Robert Schwemmer, maritime heritage coordinator for the Office of National Maritime Sanctuaries. "They were only perhaps an hour away from the dock in San Francisco. That is something to think about."

Schwemmer said the City of Rio de Janeiro disaster is often called the Bay Area's Titanic.

The location of the wreckage was a mystery until an expedition that included Schwemmer and James Delgado, a maritime historian, made the discovery.

Delgado said the discovery was "like turning on the light in a dark room. It's great. That's why we do what we do."

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have taken 3-D and sonar images of the wreckage.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

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