1911 shipwreck identified off Florida coast

Steamship Hannah M. Bel

From International Science Times

Right off Key Largo, Florida, is a well-known underwater shipwreck known as "Mike's Wreck."

Discovered and popularized by Mike Butler during the 1980's, the site still attracts numerous tourists seeking a one-of-a-kind diving adventure.

However, despite the popularity of the location, the actual identity and the history behind the sunken ship has remained a mystery - until now.

The race to uncover the truth of "Mike's Wreck" was sparked in 2009 when Matthew Lawrence taught divers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers on underwater archaeology.

There was absolutely no history attached to "Mike's Wreck" whatsoever.

During an interview with ABCNews.com, Lawrence expressed, "I couldn't believe that, with such a large, well-preserved steel steamship, we weren't able to connect the history to the wreck site."

Identified as an old steamship, researchers have only called the site "Mike's Wreck" for ages before finally digging through a century of documents including shipping records, newspapers, to learn more.

After three years of research through extensive archives, the mystery has finally been solved.

The steamship that met its tragic end is a 315-foot steel-hulled vessel named the Hannah M. Bell, which sank off Key Largo on April 4, 1911.

A tedious process, Lawrence returned to Massachusetts to learn as much as he could about shipwrecks have have accured just six miles off Key Largo.

Of the numerous incidents, Lawrence was finally able to narrow down the possibilities to just a handfull of possible ships.

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