Mystery behind ship that disappeared 50 years ago is solved when wreck is finally found off the Tasmanian coast
- Shipwreck found off the Tasmanian coast
- Cargo ship capsized, killing three people
A ship that capsized and killed three crew members has been found at the bottom of the ocean 50 years after the tragic incident.
The MV Blythe Star was making a routine trip from Hobart to King Island when it suddenly capsized and sank off the Tasmanian coast.
Three crew members died in the days following the October 13, 1973 incident as the seven survivors waited nearly two weeks to be rescued from an inflatable raft.
A ship that capsized and killed three crew members has been found at the bottom of the ocean 50 years after the tragic incident
For decades, no trace of the ship was found, despite an extensive sea search.
Researchers from the CSIRO and the University of Tasmania have discovered the shipwreck of the MV Blythe Star about 10.5 kilometers west of Tasmania’s southwest cape.
The group was studying a submarine landslide when they made the discovery last month, using map data and video footage to confirm it was the MV Blythe Star.
Algae and seaweed were found around the ship, with no damage to the ship and wheelhouse.
The CSIRO said it was pleased to confirm the ship’s final resting place, closing the 50-year mystery.
The tragedy led to important maritime laws in Australia, which have significantly improved safety at sea.
The MV Blythe Star was a small freighter that operated around Tasmania, the surrounding islands and along the Bass Strait.
It had been carrying fertilizer and barrels of beer and was on its way to King Island on the day of its ill-fated voyage.
Water began to flood the boat to the surprise of the crew before the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean.
Ten crew members on board managed to escape on an inflatable life raft, but three of them died before being found 12 days later.
George Cruickshank, Kenneth Jones, John Eagles, John Sloan, Stan Leary, Malcolm McCarroll, Cliff Langford, Lenton Power, Alfred Simpson and Michael Doleman were the men on board.
The MV Blythe Star was making a routine trip from Hobart to King Island when it suddenly capsized and sank off the Tasmanian coast
Mr. Doleman was the youngest crew member on board at the time and was only 18.
He is the last surviving member of the wreck and remembered the moment he learned that the ship had been found.
“When I heard they found it, I was just blown away,” he said.
‘In general it was quite intact, especially the propeller and rudder. He’s in pretty good shape considering his journey.’
Mr Cruickshank was the ship’s captain and said shortly after the incident that the sinking of the ship was totally unexpected.
“Everything seemed fine, with nothing out of the ordinary. The weather was beautiful – beautiful weather. Suddenly there was a shock,’ he said.
“I thought, ‘That’s funny.’ The next thing I knew she was lying on her starboard side.’
Presumably the ship was overloaded with cargo, causing it to sink into the water.
The sinking of the ship prompted the largest maritime search ever conducted in Australia at the time.