Finally Disappearance Of USS Conestoga Navy Ship Mystery Solved
NOAA and the U.S. Navy investigators have finally confirmed the discovery of a USS Conestoga (AT 54) after 95 years in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco. This discovery is one of the top maritime mysteries solve in U.S. Navy history.
Underwater cameras recorded eerie images of the tug lying largely intact with bunks, engine, boilers and a 50-caliber gun mounted on the main deck at the bottom of the sea about 30 miles (£48km) from San Francisco.
After the arrival from California shore for Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in March 1921. It disappeared with 56 officers and sailors aboard, now no human remains were seen. This makes it as the last Navy ship in history to disappear in peacetime.
Investigators believe that the tug simply became swamped by large waves in high winds and sank. The Conestoga, which was purchased by the railroad for service during World War I, had a reputation as a “wet vessel,” meaning it was prone to taking on water in choppy seas.
“Weather logs indicate that around the time of Conestoga’s departure, the wind velocity in the Golden Gate area” doubled and the “seas were rough with high waves. A garbled radio transmission from Conestoga relayed later by another ship stated the tug was battling a storm and that the barge she was towing had been torn adrift by heavy seas’” said a statement by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
In 2009 NOAA investigators using sonar images located what appeared unidentified shipwreck in the waters close to the Farallon Islands near San Francisco. A full investigation began in 2014 and in October 2015, a joint NOAA and Navy mission confirmed the wreck was the Conestoga.
Finally on March 23, 2016, NOAA finally confirmed that it had found the Conestoga.
“After nearly a century of ambiguity and a profound sense of loss, the Conestoga’s disappearance no longer is a mystery,” said Manson Brown, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy NOAA administrator.
“We hope that this discovery brings the families of its lost crew some measure of closure and we look forward to working with the Navy to protect this historic shipwreck and honor the crew who paid the ultimate price for their service to the country.”