Some 28 people, including the crew of nine, were lost when the passenger and freight carrier sank in Georgian Bay, near the city of Owen Sound.

The 24m Jane Miller had been launched only two years earlier, and ran a regular service between the town of Collingwood and Manitoulin island.

The wreck was said to be upright and intact, including a mast that reached to within 23m of the surface.

All but one of its lifeboat davits was still standing and the hull and main deck cabins were intact, although the upper cabins had collapsed. 

The rudder was turned hard to port and two of the propeller blades had broken off, suggesting that the vessel was turning when she sank and that the prop was still rotating as she hit the lakebed.

Divers Jared Daniels, Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman did not enter the wreck as their permit did not allow it, but they reported seeing piles of bodies inside.

They did not disclose the exact location of the wreck, in order to protect it while the authorities decide how to proceed.

The Jane Miller was discovered in summer but the find was not announced until later in the year.

Merryman, a founder of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society, is said to have found some 20 wrecks while working with Eliason over the space of  27 years, but he told press that it was becoming more unusual to find Great Lakes wrecks within diveable depths.

Divernet - The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers