Guided not just by the hands of operator Tom Crossmon, but also by the past efforts of an extended network of divers and the collective memory of a community, the remotely-operated vehicle descended into the depths of Lake Superior.
Dropping down a sheer rock cliff that plunges into the lake along a remote stretch of the northern Ontario shore, the underwater remote operating vehicle’s camera and lights searched for its quarry: A wreck not seen since it happened 106 years ago. A wreck that claimed three lives. A wreck unlike any other in the Great Lakes.
Within about an hour on July 22, about 235 feet beneath the surface amid a jumble of massive boulders, Crossmon and his companions found what they were looking for. There, visible on a video screen aboard their 24-foot boat, was the wreckage not of some long-lost schooner or ill-fated freighter, but rather a railroad locomotive. Locomotive 694, to be exact, which crashed into the lake from the cliffs above in a violent collision of metal and rock before sunrise on the morning of June 10, 1910.