shipwreck

John McCord / UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Archaeological researchers at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute have identified a shipwreck in the Outer Banks as a World War II assault craft. Locals had previously rumored that the wreck was a gravel barge that ran aground in the 1960s, but a recent excavation suggests the vessel had a more remarkable past.

"Based on initial assessment, the story's often much deeper, and it's only through research that we get at that story, and in this case it was a surprise to me," said lead research Nathan Richards.

Photo from "I Wish You A Boat." A young husband rushes his wife to the life boat.
Robbie Wiggins

More than a decade before the sinking of the Titanic, a passenger ferry named "SS Stella" sank during a short crossing in the English Channel. The boat went down in just eight minutes, and less than half of the staff and crew on board survived.

A picture of the Diamond Shoal.
Public Domain

North Carolina used to have a floating light house. The Diamond Shoal bobbed in the water, warning ships about the dangerous sand shoals off the North Carolina coast.  The boat was in service for 21 years before it was sunk by a German U-boat in World War I.

That historic shipwreck is the subject of a new partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA. The two groups are jointly managing the site where the Diamond Shoal light boat went down after being attacked . 

Lauren Heesemann works for NOAA.  She says there are extensive plans for the wreck near Cape Hatteras: