Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Haunted Tales of the S.S. Yongala

In 1923, two men were out fishing near Holbourne Island in Queensland, Australia. To their surprise, a ship emerged from a distance that was on course to pass the island. They described it as a passenger steamship that was covered in barnacles and rust. When it passed the island, the men waited for the steamship to emerge from the other side, but it never did. They immediately went looking for it, but found that it had completely vanished. Unnerved, they returned to dock and told others of what they had seen. They apparently had little doubt that the ship they had seen was the S.S. Yongala. The problem was that the S.S. Yongala had disappeared without a trace 12 years earlier.

The S.S. Yongala would eventually be discovered to the north of Holbourne Island in 1958. The general consensus is that the ship encountered a cyclone on or close to March 23, 1911 while carrying over 120 people. All of the passengers and crew are believed to have gone down with the ship. Today, the wreck of the S.S. Yongala is a popular scuba diving and is protected as a recognized artificial reef. As it turned out, the 1923 encounter is not the only reported supernatural claim associated with the ship (see the link below). Nor was it the last time the ship would be in the news.

Most recently, the shipwreck has been in the news after the scuba diving death of American Tina Watson at the site on her honeymoon in October 2003. Just last year, Australian officials issued an arrest warrant and request to extradite her husband, Gabe Watson, who they believe played a role in her drowning. To date, Watson and his attorney have fought the extradition and Watson failed to show at the start of the trial in February of this year. Australian authorities are now planning their next move.

Read the stories of the Wreck of the S.S. Yongala.

-Casey H.

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