A World War II-era shipwreck from 1940 was found in Lake Superior this week, concluding a decadelong search for the 84-year-old shipwreck.

On Monday, the 244-foot SS Arlington, per NBC News, was found sunk under 650 feet of water, 35 miles away from Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

Shipwreck researcher Dan Fountain and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, or GLSHS, worked together and confirmed the finding in a statement to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

Arlington’s 1940 shipwreck

The statement shared that the fully loaded Canadian bulk carrier set off on April 30, 1940, from Port Arthur, Ontario, under the command of Captain Frederick “Tatey Bug” Burke.

While venturing to Owen Sound, Ontario, traveling through Lake Superior, a dense fog surrounded it and the Collingwood, a larger accompanying freighter. Later turning into a night storm, both ships were rocked by the waves — but only the Arlington took on water.

First mate Junis Mackse ordered to change direction to the Canadian North Shore to provide some coverage from the winds and waves, but Captain Burke denied the order, and instead ordered the ship to continue on the open-lake course.

On May 1, at around 4:30 a.m., the alarm was sounded as the Arlington began sinking. The crew, fearing the dangers and without Burke’s direction, abandoned the ship on their own. Everyone got off the sinking ship and onto the Collingwood safely — except Captain Burke, who decided to stay with the Arlington.

Why did Captain Burke stay with the ship?

It’s unknown why Captain Burke fell with the ship.

Per The Washington Post, maritime tradition holds that in the case of an emergency, the captain stays on the ship until all passengers and crew have left safely. However, Burke stayed on the Arlington as all of his crew evacuated safely, leaving him as the only fatality of the wreckage.

How was the ship found?

Fountain, a retired electronic technician, told CNN he has been interested in finding shipwrecks since he was a kid, and has made a hobby out of it in recent years.

According to the statement, Fountain spent the past 10 years studying sensing data to find shipwrecks specifically in Lake Superior. He came across a “particularly deep anomaly” and contacted GLSHS to help identify what could’ve been a potential finding.

So, Fountain and GLSHS’s director of marine operations ,Darryl Ertel, along with various crew members, went off on an expedition aboard the research vessel (R/V) David Boyd in 2023.

Over a two-day venture, the crew arrived at the anomaly location and amazingly found remains of a bulk carrier via underwater drones and imaging technology, later identifying it as the Arlington shipwreck, per The Washington Post.

Detroit Free Press shared on X that the ship’s helm, surrounded by decayed wreckage, is still held intact.

Responses to Arlington’s discovery

GLSHS executive director Bruce Lynn shared in the statement:

“These targets don’t always amount to anything … but this time it absolutely was a shipwreck. A wreck with an interesting, and perhaps mysterious story. Had Dan not reached out to us, we might never have located the Arlington … and we certainly wouldn’t know as much about (the ship’s) story as we do today.”

Although it was a significant discovery, Fountain was both surprised and disappointed of finding Arlington because he was actually looking for another vessel, per CNN.

“I’m not going to say what it was because we still want to go out and find it,” he said.

Still, Fountain is happy about the discovery and hopes it may give Burke’s descendants some peace.

“It provides a little closure for them, I hope, and just solves one more mystery of the Great Lake,” reported CNN.