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Divers search for 18th century cannon in Detroit River

Divers took to the Detroit River to try and bring up a long-submerged cannon Wednesday.

Detroit Police Underwater Recovery Team divers discovered the Revolutionary War-era cannon in July. It’s the fifth such cannon pulled out of the river since the 1980s.

Detroit Police say a British vessel capsized leaving Fort Detroit in 1796, losing five cannons.

But Joel Stone, curator with the Detroit Historical Society, says historical records from the period are “sketchy,” and there’s no record of anyone losing five cannons at once.

“Well, we’re not exactly sure of the circumstances. We’re not exactly sure of the date of the cannon. We have uncovered four cannon, they all have different probable dates. One of them definitely pre-dates the American Revolution.”

Stone says after this cannon is brought up for inspection, it will actually be re-submerged for preservation purposes until the Historical Society can raise money to restore it.

Despite divers’ best efforts, the cannon that has spent more than 200 years in the Detroit River had to stay there another day. Divers couldn’t find it in rapid currents and near-zero visibility.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.