Diver’s body found on Whitefish shipwreck
PARADISE, Mich. – The body of a diver was discovered Tuesday following a search of a shipwreck in the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve. According to Michigan State Police – Newberry Detachment, the diver had been part of a recreational diving crew exploring the shipwreck SS Samuel Mather.
The diver was identified as Derril Yerigan, 52, from New Richmond, Wis. According to police, at approximately 2:20 p.m. Monday, the United States Coast Guard received a call from the dive charter boat Blackdog. The Blackdog is captained by Brian Anderson of Frost, Min. The captain reported he had deployed four recreational divers on the Mather. Three of the divers completed their dive and surfaced, but the fourth failed to return to the surface and was presumed dead.
The USCG contacted the Michigan State Police Underwater Recovery Unit and requested assistance in investigating the matter and recovering the body of the deceased diver.
The USCG deployed resources to the area and conducted a search of the surface water and could not locate the missing diver. Troopers from the Michigan State Police, along with members of the MSP Underwater Recovery Unit, began to investigate the matter and commenced with the recovery efforts.
On Tuesday MSP divers recovered the body of the deceased diver from the deck of the Mather. The incident remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.
The body of the deceased diver has been turned over to the Chippewa County Medical Examiner, and an autopsy to determine the cause of death is being performed.
The shipwreck SS Samuel Mather is located in Lake Superior in the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve approximately 16 miles from the Whitefish Point Harbor. The shipwreck lies in 174 feet of water.