Mysterious disappearance of Hawaii-bound tugboat solved 95 years later

Mysterious disappearance of Hawaii-bound tugboat solved 95 years later
(Image: Naval History and Heritage Command; NOAA/Teledyne SeaBotix)

SAN FRANSISCO, California (HawaiiNewsNow) - One of the biggest maritime mysteries involving a U.S. Navy vessel that disappeared on the way to Hawaii has been solved nearly a century later.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Navy announced Wednesday the discovery of the USS Conestoga about a few miles off San Francisco, near the Farallon Islands.

The seagoing fleet tugboat, carrying 56 officers and sailors, left San Francisco on March 25, 1921 and was bound for American Samoa via Pearl Harbor, but it never made it to Hawaii. A massive air and sea search ensued, but was called off after the Navy declared Conestoga and its crew lost on June 30, 1921. According to NOAA, it was the last Navy ship to be lost in peacetime without a trace.

Then, in 2009, a NOAA team doing a hydrographic survey discovered what looked like an uncharted shipwreck around the Farallon Islands. A further investigation, including a two-year study to document historic shipwrecks in and near the sanctuary, confirmed it was the Conestoga.

The formal announcement was made almost exactly 95 years after the vessel vanished.

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