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shipwreck

Lore had it that the SS Cotopaxi was swallowed by the infamous Bermuda Triangle after the steamship, and all 32 crew members on board, inexplicably vanished in 1925.

In the sci-fi film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, aliens are responsible for the ship's disappearance.

But a team of divers has identified the ship and debunked the fictions, theories and conspiracies that emerged over the years. And unlike in Close Encounters, the ship wasn't found in the Gobi desert, but rather 35 miles off St. Augustine in Florida.

Portions of this story were originally published May 6, 2019.

In 1986, David Mearns received his Master’s degree in Marine Geology from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

Since then, he's become one of the world's most renowned shipwreck hunters, with 25 discoveries and three world records, including one for the deepest shipwreck ever found.

David Mearns
The OPEN Partnership Education Network at USFSP

In 1986, David Mearns received his Master’s degree in Marine Geology from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

Since then, he's become one of the world's most renowned shipwreck hunters, with 25 discoveries and three world records, including one for the deepest shipwreck ever found.

Hurricane Irma moved a lot of things around underwater off the Florida coast. And the storm has revealed new evidence of an old shipwreck off the Florida Keys.

USF Libraries Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections

When the hull of a ship believed to be from the 1700's or 1800's washed up on shore on Ponte Vedra Beach Easter weekend, one of the first groups to be called in to help preserve it was the University of South Florida Libraries Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections.

Overnight Tuesday, a surging ocean pushed ashore a remarkably well-preserved, 48-foot section of the wooden hull of a sailing ship that could date back as far as the 1800s or even the 1700s.