« Amateur shipwreck hunter Bill Milner spotted a World War I vessel in the Neches river in Silsbee, following a drought in Texas, as seen in footage from Thursday.
« I was running up and down this river, looking at anything of age, anything wooden and I saw a piece of wood sticking out the water, » he explained.
« I went to investigate it and upon me looking at this piece of wood, I bumped into what I thought was a log or a stump and I looked down I could feel there was a wooden vessel, the outline of a wooden vessel, » he continued.
Footage shows parts of the wooden craft protruding from the water. The site itself has been found to contain five vessels, used to carry US troops and supplies to Europe during the fighting.
« I started this adventure because we, down here in southeast Texas are under a drought and so the water is very, very low, » Milner added. « It was a good time to start looking for things in the river … A lot of people I don’t think are aware of what was underneath this water. »
Milner worked with the local Ice House Museum to document the find, while one expert, Susan Kilcrease, can be seen describing some of the images.
« You can see that all these pipes and things, I don’t know what all of this is but these steel pieces and of course the decking down here, » she explained. « There’s history still out there that has not been found, that is very exciting to people when it is discovered. »
Each boat is around 80-100 feet (24-30 metres) in length. The area of Texas was previously an important hub for shipbuilding and produced the wooden boats for the war effort, although many were abandoned in the river following the end of the conflict. »