Shipwrecks aren’t limited to oceans. Shipwrecks are also common in rivers and lakes. Did you know the Mississippi River has seen about 50 shipwrecks and crashes. The Mississippi River can be very dangerous, especially when the waters are cold and rushing. Sadly, some of the worst shipwrecks in the world have happened in this river. But what’s the most devastating shipwreck in Mississippi River history, and how did it happen? Keep reading to find out more.
About the Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is one of the most popular rivers in the United States. It is the third-largest river in North America. This large river touches ten states, not just the Mississippi. The Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long and 20 to 30 feet wide in some parts. The widest part of the Mississippi River is 11 miles wide. The river is also very deep, reaching 200 feet deep near Algiers Point in New Orleans.
Animals that Live in the Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is a perfect environment for many animals. For instance, over 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, and 145 species of amphibians call the river home. There are also about 50 species of mammals. Along the Mississippi River, you can find many great fishing spots. The most common fish in the Mississippi River are walleye, freshwater drum, white bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, carp, and largemouth bass.
Birds are also common. With a pair of binoculars, you can take a walk and birdwatch. Some birds found along the Mississippi River include bald eagles, bluebirds, mourning doves, peregrine falcons, Canadian geese, and great blue herons. Common mammals include wolves, striped skunks, beavers, otters, white-tailed deer, and coyotes.
Is the Mississippi River Dangerous?
The Mississippi River can be dangerous depending on where you decide to take a dip. The rough waters can easily drown novice swimmers. Even some of the strongest swimmers struggle to swim in the Mississippi River. Some of the strongest currents occur near New Orleans where the average flow rate is 600,000 cubic feet per second. Drowning isn’t the only fear swimmers have while in the Mississippi River.
Even the strongest swimmers can slip and get hurt in the Mississippi River. For example, the current and crashing waves can push you against jagged and sharp rocks, branches, and debris. This is especially dangerous for kayakers. The Mississippi River sometimes also suddenly floods, causing countless deaths and injuries. Some of the animals in the Mississippi River are also very dangerous. For example, alligators are common in some parts of the river. Alligators are apex predators and while humans aren’t always on their radar, they will attack if they feel threatened. Bull sharks also swim in the Mississippi River and can confuse your splashing for their usual prey.
The Most Devastating Shipwreck in the Mississippi River
Did you know there was a large and tragic shipwreck in the Mississippi River? This river has seen many boat crashes and shipwrecks in the last few centuries. Archaeologists have even found shipwrecks in the Mississippi River that didn’t occur in the river but slowly moved towards it. The deadliest and most devastating shipwreck in the Mississippi River happened on April 27, 1865. On this sad day, the steamboat Sultana exploded and sank killing about 1,800 people. On the day of the accident, the ship was on its way to St. Louis.
The steamboat was full of Union soldiers who were recently freed from Confederate prison camps during the civil war. There were a few conditions that caused the explosion. For example, the steamboat had a legal carrying capacity of 376 passengers, but there were nearly 2,500 people onboard. The river was flooded, with lots of debris and large pieces of trees. At around 2 am, one boiler exploded, which caused two others to also explode. Soon the entire ship was sinking. Locals in the area tried their best to save people including Franklin Hardin Barton.
The Deadliest Shipwreck in The World
While shipwrecks like the Titanic are very well known, the deadliest shipwreck in the world happened on January 30, 1945. There were 10,000 people on the ship. About 9,000 people died on the Wilhelm Gustloff when a submarine S-13 sunk the ship. This shipwreck isn’t very well known because the Nazi regime kept the shipwreck quiet. Another sad and devastating shipwreck was the 284-foot-long, 2,856-ton Arctic. On September 27, 1854, the ship collided with a smaller French steamship. The captain attempted to get the women and children on the lifeboats first, but many crew members and male passengers took the lifeboats. In the end, only 87 people survived out of 400 and none were women or children.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What was the deadliest shipwreck on the Mississippi River?
The deadliest and most devastating shipwreck in the Mississippi River happened on April 27, 1865. On this sad day, the steamboat Sultana exploded and sank killing about 1,800 people. On the day of the accident, the ship was on its way to St. Louis
What was one of the most devastating shipwrecks in the world?
About 9,000 people died on the Wilhelm Gustloff when a submarine S-13 sunk the ship. This shipwreck isn’t very well known because the Nazi regime kept the shipwreck quiet.
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