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Long-lost Shipwreck Discovered off Greece 40 Years Later

Shipwreck Greece
Part of the shipwreck, including an iron ladder, remains intact. Credit: AMNA

A shipwreck that sunk 40 years ago in Cape Kafireas, on the southern tip of Evia, Greece was recently uncovered by a diving enthusiast and his team.

The “Golden Dawn” ferry, sank on February 23, 1983, as she was sailing from Rafina, east of Athens to the Cyclades. 28 people were killed in the accident.

Its discovery awakened memories but also mixed emotions among the relatives of the victims: “The finding of the sunken Golden Dawn is important, but our people who were lost with it will never come back,” said Katerina Tsoumezi, wife of the captain who was lost on that fateful day.

It was Wednesday at 16:06 when the “Golden Dawn” sailed from the port of Rafina bound for Andros and other islands of the Cyclades, carrying 5 trucks and 9 fuel tankers with a total weight of 298 tons.

Only 14 were rescued following the explosion on the ship

As it was crossing Cape Kafireas an explosion rocked the “Golden Dawn” most likely due to a fuel leak from the tankers. A fire broke out on the ship.

A second, even stronger explosion followed and the ship capsized. Then, part of the superstructure detached, and the trucks in the garage ended up at the bottom of the sea.

A Russian vessel conducting oceanographic research sailing nearby received the distress signal from the “Golden Dawn” and rushed to help. Other ships in the area and army helicopters were also sent.

However, due to the windy conditions, out of the total of 42 onboard only 14 were rescued safely.

The ship remained on the surface turned upside down and drifted by the currents for at least 3 hours until it was lost forever at the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

Shipwreck in Greece found at a depth of 110 meters

Forty years after its tragic loss, researcher Kostas Thoktaridis and his team found the shipwreck at a depth of 110 meters.

As he notes, “The first images from the wreck are awe-inspiring. It is impressive that only part of the superstructure was detached from the fire and explosions, while the rest of the ship remains intact at the bottom.”

The characteristic funnels of the shipwreck, despite the explosion and the fire that followed the sinking, still bear the “signal” colors of the then ship-owning company.

shipwreck greece
The right funnel of the ship. Credit: AMNA

A special underwater remotely operated vehicle ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) was used for the location and identification operation.

Last August Thoktaridis and his team discovered a shipwreck off the island of Kythnos in the Aegean with indications it sank after an explosion at its bow.

There is yet no information on the vessel and no indication of its date.

Earlier in 2022, Thoktaridis and his team of divers discovered another shipwreck that has languished in the waters off Cape Sounion, Greece since 1891.

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