Exploring shipwrecks below the Gulf of Mexico

Bow and view into the hull of what is believed to be the wreck of the tugboat New Hope

By Jeremy Berke - Business Insider

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are conducting an expedition to explore shipwrecks in the uncharted waters of the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico, and they're returning to the surface with some stunning footage.

As part of the mission, the researchers are using remote-operated submersibles to investigate a number of shipwrecks — some of them previously unidentified — that are resting thousands of feet underwater in the deepest, least-explored parts of the Gulf of Mexico.

From a tugboat that was the subject of a daring rescue mission during a tropical storm in the 1960s to German U-boats and pirate ships from the 19th century, the scientists and archaeologists are seeking to learn all they can about the histories of these ships, as the ocean slowly reclaims them.

"On September 29, 1965, New Hope encountered the strong winds and high seas of Tropical Storm Debbie off the Louisiana coast. With the crew having trouble pumping water out of the hull, the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call around 1 AM and dispatched an aircraft to deploy a backup pump.

Also on board the aircraft was the latest in Search and Rescue technology: a floating radio beacon for use with a radio direction finder. In use, the beacon is dropped close to the distressed vessel to mark its position and to act as a drifting reference.

The seven-member crew boarded a life raft and abandoned the foundering New Hope at 3 AM, just as the aircraft arrived to mark its position with the beacon. Staying on scene until daylight, the aircraft vectored a Coast Guard helicopter to the raft to conduct a safe rescue of the entire crew."

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