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Lake Champlain Shipwreck - Lethargy

Found by:  Dan Scoville, Paul Garrison, Brian Lindner & Scott Vanlear  - July 2015

Location:  Off Burlington, VT

Previously Located By: I believe this wreck was previously located by LCMM

Burlington Free Press - Wednesday July 17,1957

A prominent Burlington business man and his son escaped unhurt yesterday afternoon as their 48 foot yacht exploded and burned in Lake Champlain about a mile southest of Juniper Island.  

Irving Kaufman, 56, and Mortimer M, Kaufman, 26, two of the owners of Irving's on Church Street, fled the yacht "Lethargy" shortly before a blast in the engine compartment turned the craft into "an inferno."

The fire broke out about 1:10 pm.  "Lethargy" burned to the waterline, sank at 2:13 while a Coast Guard rescue boat poured water onto the wrecked hulk.  

The Kaufmans fled "Lethargy" in a 14 foot dinghy which they were towing.  The elder Kaufman said he and his son were planning to do some pike fishing on route from Shelburne Harbor to the King Steet dock. 


Near Four Brothers Islands the engine quit.  As Kaufman pushed the button to restart the engine an explosion ripped the engine compartment.  Both men were on the bridge at the time. 


"The explosion didn't seem to amount to much." Kaufman said.  "It was a kind of a "puoff," like the breaking a large paper bag.  The next second flames gushed from the engine room.  "We decided it was time to get aboard the dinghy." Kaufman said.  

He said that within two or three minutes after they boarded the small boat,,  "Lethargy" was a "roaring inferno from stem to stern."

Mrs. Maxwell L Jameson of the DeForest Rd turned in the first alarm ashore.  She spotted a smoke plume far out in the lake and notified the US Coast Guard which sent an ice breaker to the scene.  

A helicopter from the Ethan Allan Air Force Base, a tug from Lake Champlain Transportation Co. and private boats also hurried to offer help.


The Kaufmands sat in the dinghy and watched until "Lethargy" slipped beneath some 250 feet of water, then took a tow back from the Coast Guard.  


"We went out in a yacht and came back in a dinghy."  Irving Kaufman said.  


He estimated the loss as between $10,000 and $15,000 including personal belonging which went down with "Lethargy."  The owner said he carried $4000 insurance on the boat but none on the personal property aboard.  


Finding The Wreck

In the summer 2015 Dan Scoville, Paul Garrison and Brian Lindner were out scanning Lake Champlain looking for the N400CP, a corporate jet lost with all hands shortly after takeoff from the Burlington airport.  During the search for the lost aircraft we ran across the final resting place of Lethargy.
I believe Lethargy was located in the summer of 2014 when a joint search for N400CP took place with multiple local police forces and assisted by some private firms.

The Discovery Team​

Dan Scoville is an experienced cave and technical diver. In 2005, Dan led the development of an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) with a team of college seniors from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is currently a Global new product development manager for Oceaneering International in Houston, TX

Paul Garrison

Paul Garrison is owner of Crescent Images, LLC, a Houston based video production company that has provided video production for over 40 years of everything from special events, training videos, interviews and marketing content for corporations, small to mid-sized businesses. Special projects include video documentary coverage of ship wreck searches.


For over 26 years, Paul also is owner/founder of Crescent IT Systems, a Houston based managed IT support company that has provided its small to mid-sized clients with solutions involving data protection, systems monitoring, helpdesk, network services, cyber security services, disaster recovery/business continuity and more.  Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at University of Houston.


Prior to these organizations, Paul has been employed in numerous functions in research and development organizations involved with the integration and programming of computer-based systems involved with real-time data for monitoring and control of critical events.  Other accomplishments include AI applications residing on edge technology for the purpose of visual recognition and event assessments.

Brian Lindner is a native Vermonter and local historian.  Known as the unofficial plane crash historian for Vermont.  Author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles about Vermont history.  Twenty-six years in the Marine Division of the State Police.  Ski patroller at Stowe, EMT and leads a local Search & Rescue team.

Scott Van Lear

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