Underwater researchers off the coast of Washington recently announced an amazing discovery. They have found the wreckage of a ship that sank in a tragic crash on Elliott Bay 117 years ago.
The SS Dix, a steamboat that was an integral part of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet, served from 1904 to 1906 before meeting a tragic end. Its sinking marked one of the most severe transportation accidents in the history of Washington state.
And now its remains have finally been found.
On November 18, 1906, the S.S. Dix collided with a larger steamship and sank to the bottom of Puget Sound. At least 42 passengers died in the wreck, which is one of the worst maritime disasters in Seattle history, writes Smithsonian Magazine.
Now, underwater explorers say they’ve located the Dix’s final resting place. They announced the discovery last week, reports KIRO Newsradio’s Feliks Banel. The ship sits upright at the bottom of Elliott Bay near Seattle’s Alki Point, submerged under roughly 600 feet of water.
The Dix, a small wooden ship built in 1904, was part of the “Mosquito Fleet” of privately owned vessels that ferried passengers around Puget Sound between the 1830s and the 1930s.
“Before roads, the area relied on these boats for transportation and commerce,” according to the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. “Unpredictable and dangerous, the ferry system battled weather, water conditions and boiler accidents to connect communities.”
According to the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, the SS Dix was constructed in 1904, serving as part of an important transportation fleet in the Puget Sound. Consisting mostly of small wooden ships, the boats transported passengers in the area before highways and bridges were built. The SS Dix made 19 round trips daily across Elliott Bay to Alki Point.
The two men who identified the wreck of the SS DIX are Jeff Hummel and Matt McCauley, a pair of researchers dedicated to finding crashes. They first became known as teenagers when they found a sunken Navy bomber in Lake Washington.
Two two said they first stumbled across the Dix in 2015 and “don’t want to do anything other than create a detailed photo survey of the wreck, and they want to work with the State Legislature to create some way to protect the site in perpetuity as the final resting place for nearly 40 people,” noted a local outlet.
“We think that it’s important to pay respect to the vessel and the people that have been lost, and we’d like to see some legal mechanism for protecting it,” Hummel told KIRO Newsradio. “And the mechanisms that we have available to us today are imperfect because eventually they expire. So we’d like to see some sort of permanent legislation enacted by the state legislature to preserve and protect this particular site, and basically make it so it isn’t looted in any way and is preserved for the future and just respected as a grave site.”