95 years ago, a ship carrying over fifty crew members vanished, seemingly into thin air. The USS Conestoga was acquired by the Navy in the year 1904, meant to be a mine sweeper and fleet tender. It was used for several years to transport military items, such as ammunition, from one place to another. When not in active duty, it towed disabled ships, and eventually became a fleet tug. In the year 1921, the USS Conestoga left California and never arrived at its destination in Hawaii. Extensive searches were deployed to locate this ship and crew, but they all came back futile. 95 years after the USS Conestoga was lost, ocean explorers have found the remains to this ship.
The remains were discovered near the Great Farallones Islands, located over 56 kilometers deep. A branch of the NOAA that helped discover these remains confirmed they belonged to the USS Conestoga at the end of March. Apparently, the ship’s voyage did not get very far from California. The remains are only a little over 30 kilometers from San Francisco.
It is speculated that the ship encountered a storm on its way and could not make its way to a protective cove. Logs from 1921 show that the wind gusts at sea had reached over 40 MPH when the USS Conestoga went out, and the water was choppy as a result. The protective cove in which it was attempting to take shelter was a nearby lighthouse, but the conditions of the water were too much for the ship to take. None of the crew members made it out alive, and the ship was torn to pieces.
Although the finding of the remains was reported a mere month ago, there has been a lot of speculation surrounding the location of the USS Conestoga. In fact, the speculation has existed for at least seven years. In the summer of 2009, the NOAA was scanning the seafloor with a multibeam sonar when it noticed ship remains near San Francisco. The wreck was uncharted, and investigated with an autonomous underwater vehicle that collected images in the year 2014. It took a couple of years, but a team was finally able to match enough evidence of the wreck to match it to the USS Conestoga.
This discovery, 95 years later, has been very important for history records, not to mention for the descendents of the victims of the wreck. It is truly amazing what ocean exploration brings to light.