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City of Chester collided with Oceanic in San Francisco Bay

SS City of Chester

By Ed Walsh - Examiner

An 1888 shipwreck has been found in San Francisco Bay just east of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The wreckage of the 202-foot long passenger steamship named the“City of Chester" was discovered upright in the shipping channel near the Golden Gate. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a huge gash is visible on the Chester's port-side bow.

The City of Chester sank after it collided with the ocean liner “Oceanic.” A total of 16 people on the Chester were killed. It was the second-deadliest maritime disaster in the history of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The wreckage was found nearly a year ago 217 feet below the surface. NOAA scientists found it using a high-tech eco-sound sonar system. The researchers have kept the discovery quiet until now while they made high-definition maps of the 1888 wreck.

"It was sad in a way because of the loss of life, but to be able to connect with maritime history was amazingly fulfilling and to find a wreck of such significance was also extremely exciting," explained Laura Pagano, a physical science tech with NOAA's navigation response team.

The disaster happened during a fogging morning in September. The Chester had 106 people aboard was heading out of the bay for a run up to Eureka, in the far northern end of the state. The Oceanic was arriving back to San Francisco after spending nearly a month at sea en route from Hong Kong.

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