SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WFRV) – It’s been 175 years since the SS Phoenix carrying a ship full of Dutch immigrants caught fire just before reaching the city of Sheboygan.
The ship eventually sank and killed 190 people on board, making it one of the deadliest shipwrecks on Lake Michigan.
The remains of the ship have been searched for, but to no avail until this summer, when the ship’s smokestack was found at the bottom of the lake by a Dutch podcaster.
Prior to her trip to America, podcast maker Joske Meerdink discovered the phenomenon of shipwreck hunting and came into contact with Steve Radovan.
He had been to the spot where the Phoenix was wrecked in 2014 and had already spotted something on his radar at the time.
“When I looked at the images, I thought it was a log. I thought that for eight years until Joske from Omroep Gelderland contacted me. And then I started thinking: perhaps it is not a log but the smokestack of the Phoenix, which fell off at the time,” said Radovan.
The official diving team of the State of Wisconsin was deployed to cooperate with the investigation. After a 40-minute dive, diver Tamara Thomson surfaced with the redeeming answer: “It’s a smokestack!”
The new discovery will be included in a podcast released by Omroep Gelderland. The five-part podcast series, De Ramp met de Phoenix, is available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple podcasts.