More than a century after going missing, a Finnish-owned sailing ship has been discovered in a marine park off the West Australian coast.
The wreck of the Glenbank was found by local fishing friends Kevin Deacon, Johnny Debnam, Luke Leech, Justin Leech and Tom Radley in the Dampier Marine Park, near Karratha.
More than 20 crew members were aboard the ship, which arrived at Balla Balla to transport copper ore to the United Kingdom when it capsized during a powerful storm in February 1911.
One crewman swam to a nearby island and was rescued by a pearling lugger after being stranded there for three days. He was the only survivor.
The discovery was confirmed by marine archaeologists and filmed as part of the Disney+ Original series Shipwreck Hunters Australia.
Mr Debnam, who works on the show, said the find was incredibly exciting.
"After undertaking a full survey, diving and filming the huge wreck site, abundant with sharks, turtles, dolphins and other marine life, the team was able to interpret pivotal evidence from the seabed, along with a deep dive into the archives, to help piece together the ship's incredible story," he said.
The show details the story of the Glenbank's sole survivor, 22-year-old seafarer Antti Ketola, who survived on raw shellfish while awaiting rescue.
The Shipwreck Hunters Australia team tracked down his descendants in Finland, who had no idea about the remarkable story.
"Whenever he lived here in Finland there were no stories about it and he never talked about it, so it has been totally hidden what has happened to Antti," his grandson Matti Latva-Panula said.
"From now on, the story is going to live in the family. All the children and grandchildren will know about it."
Western Australian Museum maritime archaeologist Deb Shefi said it was a significant discovery.
"It is not often we find a silhouette of a ship, with the masts aligned, resting on the seafloor like this," she said.
"The unseasonably good weather meant Glenbank was ready to shed its secrets and we were able to record measurements and details that will assist further research into this tragic shipwreck."
Australian Associated Press