The Wreck Of An Infamous Ship That Vanished In The Bermuda Triangle In 1925 Discovered

Published January 29, 2020
Updated April 16, 2024

The Bermuda Triangle has claimed 1,000 lives in the last 100 years. This particular mystery has finally been solved nearly a century later.

Diver And Ss Cotopaxi Remains

Science ChannelMarine biologist and underwater archaeologist Michael Barnette inspects the SS Cotopaxi wreckage to confirm its measurements.

The Bermuda Triangle has been fodder for enthusiasts of the paranormal and unexplained for decades, such as the sudden disappearance of the merchant ship SS Cotopaxi in 1925. Now, nearly a century later, maritime archaeologists believe they have found the merchant ship’s wreckage off the coast of Florida.

The steam-powered ship left Charleston, South Carolina for Havana, Cuba on Nov. 29, 1925 and was never seen again, nor were any of the 32 people on board.

While the bodies have naturally decomposed since then, the ship’s remains have now been found 35 nautical miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida. Set to premiere on the Science Channel’s new Shipwreck Secrets series on Feb. 9, the process of discovery was rather remarkable.

The first person marine biologist and underwater explorer Michael Barnette called after finding the wreck was British historian Guy Walters — who immediately went to work and found some promising clues as to the ship’s identity.

Ss Cotopaxi Before Departure

FacebookThe SS Cotopaxi’s disappearance is so famous that the ship appeared in the Gobi Desert in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, presumably transported there by extraterrestrials.

“Walters combed through ship records at the archives of Lloyd’s of London, who were the insurance brokers for the SS Cotopaxi,” a Science Channel statement explained. “There he discovered something previously unknown about the Cotopaxi’s voyage.”

“The ship had sent out wireless distress signals with a position on December 1st, 1925, two days after it left Charleston.”

The disappearance of the Cotopaxi has become one of the most popular mysteries regarding the Bermuda Triangle. Countless ships, boats, and airplanes have gone missing in that part of the Atlantic Ocean — making this discovery exciting for experts.

In a strange turn of events, Barnette and Walters realized the wreck had already been found 35 years ago — but that experts mistook it for another ship. Until now, it had been known locally as the Bear Wreck.

It simply took divers and researchers a closer look to confirm that it was, indeed, the Cotopaxi.

Michael Barnette Diving By The Cotopaxi

Science ChannelBarnette contacted British historian Guy Walters to gather more information on the ship’s location and status before disappearing.

Together with experts from the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, diver Al Perkins took photos and video footage of the vessel and shared it with Douglas Myers — the grandson of the Cotopaxi‘s captain, William J. Myers.

“Myers agreed that the team had finally located his grandfather’s ship after being missing for almost 100 years,” the Science Channel said.

The Bermuda Triangle — also known as the Devil’s Triangle — has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the last century.

Only last year did a new and considerable theory crop up regarding why. According to Fox News, English scientists discovered that a natural “rogue wave” phenomenon could be at fault. Of course, it’s also an commercially busy part of the ocean, adding to the statistical realities at play.

Nonetheless, it’s satisfying to see at least an answer to one century-old mystery come to the surface.

After learning about the Bermuda Triangle shipwreck identified nearly 100 years after it vanished, read about the five most intriguing shipwrecks. Then, learn about the world’s oldest intact shipwreck being found at the bottom of the Black Sea.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "The Wreck Of An Infamous Ship That Vanished In The Bermuda Triangle In 1925 Discovered.", January 29, 2020, Accessed June 19, 2024.