Every SCUBA diver and beachcomber dreams at some point of finding long-lost buried treasure or unearthing some relic lost to the sea. Two Andrea Doria divers recently did just that when they unearthed the bridge bell during their first dive on the wreck. The SS Andrea Doria is a fairly recent wreck. It sunk after it collided with the Swedish ocean liner, the MS Stockholm on July 25, 1956. Even though many of the lifeboats were unuseable once the severely damaged ship started listing to one side, only 46 lives were lost on the Andrea Doria and 5 on the Stockholm.
Divers have visited the wreckage since its sinking to recover artifacts from the luxury liner. Many treasures from the passengers and ship have been recovered, including the ship’s compass, stern bell, first class safe and many others. The wreck is about 200 feet deep and about 55 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. It is tangled in a mass of wire and fishing nets and is deteriorating rapidly, making it a treacherous deepwater dive site. Fifteen divers to date have lost their lives while diving on the Andrea Doria.
The dive in which the bridge bell was found was the first dive that the two New Jersey divers made to the wreckage. The expedition leader attributes their find to being “in the right place at the right time” and “like finding a needle in a haystack” when they spotted the tip of the bell sticking out of the sand. This find is being considered the first major discovery since the stern bell was found in 1985.