- The SS Dix, a commuter ferry that brought people to Seattle, was lost in 1906 and sank so deep that none of the victims were ever recovered
Explorers have made a groundbreaking discovery in Washington State’s Puget Sound after they located wreckage from the worst maritime tragedy in Seattle history.
The SS Dix went down on November 18, 1906, after colliding with another vessel as it made its regular route connecting Seattle to Port Blakely. It was said at the time that the Dix went down in the ‘twinkling of an eye’ after hitting the SS Jeanie, which was six times its size.
Many of the victims were women and children who went ‘down to death like rats in a trap’ one report from the time said. The ship was built in 1904 and was considered part of the Mosquito Fleet of vessels.
It’s impossible to know the exact number of those who perished with most giving the number as at least 42 because many on board didn’t pay the fare.
More than 100 years later, explorer Jeff Hummel, the CEO of Rockfish Inc., believes his crew had found the SS Dix close to Alki Point and is now hoping to work with local officials to have the area protected.
The wreckage was discovered just off of the coast of Seattle in an area known as Alki Point
The SS Dix went down on November 18, 1906, after colliding with another vessel as it made its regular route connecting Seattle to Port Blakely
Hummel says that the ship is covered in sediment and large sea anemones which makes it difficult to sea the entire structure, he told Fox Seattle. He said that the area needs to be handled sensitively because it is essentially a gravesite.
Hummel said that other explorers have identified the area as being home to a wreck but his crew are the first to name the discovery as the SS Dix.
In an interview with KING5, Hummel said that his crew able to identify the Dix thanks to sonar images.
‘What they thought was the stern was actually the bow, so the bow actually has some damage to it. That made it kind of look like the blunt end of the vessel, not the pointy end, but the Dix has a canoe stern so it was pointed at both ends,’ he said.
‘When you take the image and flip it around, and then you do the comparison of the features from a photograph to what we see on the sonar, we get this perfect alignment of all the different features on the wreck.’
Hummel went on to tell the station that he does not want to disturb the site any further so no other testing has taken place.
At the time of the crash, the ship’s captain Parker Lermond placed the blame on his first mate. It’s believe that Jeanie had the right-of-way in the incident.
‘I was below collecting fare when the ships struck. I knew nothing of the proximity of the Jeanie until the sound of the slow bell caused me to rush on deck, Lermond said according to Fox Seattle.
‘The sight fascinated me by its horror. Lights were still burning and I could see people inside of the cabin. The expressions on the faces were of indescribable despair.’
‘There were cries, prayers, and groans from men and women, and the wail of a child and the shouts of those who were fighting desperately to gain the deck,’ he also said.
Following the crash, Lermond would never captain a passenger vessel again.
The wreck was sunk so deep that no bodies were ever recovered.