Oswego (WSYR-TV) -- More than 500 feet below the surface of Lake Ontario, you'll find the Shannon, where it has rested for more than a century. Dan Scoville and Chris Koberstein were finishing a search mission for another shipwreck when a schooner appeared on the sonar.
“It was kind of a long lost wreck that I think most people had forgotten about,” said Dan Scoville, who discovered the shipwreck. “The ship is very intact. The master is standing. The bow spritz is beautiful, and the chains are hanging from it….The cabin is in perfect condition.”
Scoville wasn't sure what they'd discovered until research through old newspapers and ship logs revealed an eyewitness account from the crew of the Shannon. Bound for Canada with a shipment of coal in 1874, the schooner had traveled 20 miles from Oswego when it suddenly began taking on water.
"There was a leak in the ship and they couldn't pump the pump fast enough to get the water out to keep the ship floating," Scoville continued. “They started preparing the yawl and just as they were getting into the yawl, the ship lurched hard and everybody jumped in the yawl and then the ship went down right there.”
Scoville believes everyone escaped, forced to take turns rowing back to shore with one oar. Five hours after their ordeal began, the men returned to Oswego, tired but alive. The Shannon sank relatively gently to the bottom of the lake, with a small plate still preserved in the cabin's cupboard for the crew that abandoned ship long ago.
"What makes it kind of interesting is, it's the first scow schooner that I've ever found or that I even know of in Lake Ontario," Scoville explained.
Facing fierce competition from other shipwreck enthusiasts, it took Dan and his friend more than a year to secretly document the discovery, until they were ready to share it with the world.
“There is a limited resource of shipwrecks and once they are all found, they are found,” Scoville said. “As long as there are a few good projects left in Lake Ontario, I'd like to be the one to find them.”
The search goes on with one more mystery of history solved.
The shipwreck will remain at the bottom of Lake Ontario. Scoville did not take anything from the site, noting that it's illegal to remove historic artifacts from the lake.