A steamboat that was lost on the Missouri River in the latter part of the 19th century has resurfaced due to the severe drought conditions that have been plaguing the region.
For 128 years the boat was hidden beneath the waters of the Missouri River. According to KTVI (courtesy WLFI), the Montana, a wooden steamboat built in 1882, had sunk in 1884.
The remains of the Montana are now clearly visible due to the severe drought conditions that have caused river levels to decline. A resurfacing of the large steamboat happens periodically.
A separate KTVI report indicated Dr. Steve Dasovich, a Lindenwood University archaeologist who took part in an underwater survey of the ship back in 2002, said the steamboat was "longer than a football field."
“Every time the river’s low, and it may not be a drought here, it could be way upstream, but I get calls about the Montana and other wrecks along the river whenever the river’s down,” Dasovich said told the station.
The shipwreck belongs to the State of Missouri, designated under federal law. Looting the boat is illegal, but Dasovich feels there's likely not much left of value.
“There isn’t anything left on it,” Dasovich said. “People always want to go check it out. There’s a few odds and ends and things that show up once in a while, but with the nature of the river they could be from something else. Things just roll on down the river.”
According to a 2002 National Geographic report, the 283-foot Montana was the largest steamboat to travel the Missouri River.
"The Montana represented the last days' gasp of a once-glorious steamboat industry that helped fuel the explosive growth of the American West," National Geographic had written.
Fox 4 News in Kansas City reported five shipwrecks now "dot the shorelines" between the towns of St. Charles and Bridgeton along the Missouri River.