Texas Man Discovers World War I Shipwreck While Jet Skiing

By Sherah Janay Ndjongo

August 31, 2023

Shipwreck or wrecked fishing ship in the sunrise scene ,Thailand
Photo: Getty Images

The remains of five ships from the World War I era were discovered at the bottom of the Neches River in southeast Texas on August 16.

Bill Milner, a 70-year-old retiree, was jet skiing on the river when he spotted the remains of a wooden boat. He proceeded to capture approximately 250 images and videos of the captivating scene, which he then forwarded to the Ice House Museum in Silsbee.

The museum posted a statement to their Facebook page including details about the surprising reveal.

We have had a major find yesterday in the Neches River! With the river being at an historic low, our River people have...

Posted by Ice House Museum on Saturday, August 19, 2023

Each boat is measured to be an estimated 80 to 100 feet.

Milner, who was previously aware of the area's former reputation as a shipbuilding hub, was actively searching for shipwrecks hiding in the water, but he still considers what he has uncovered as an accident because he believed the attempt would be like "a needle-in-a-haystack search."

According to Milner, "50/50, I really thought in my mind that if I was ever going to find anything, this would be the best time to do it. I was that enthusiastic and optimistic about it."

Officials have stated that the unexpected finding is attributed to the continuous drought plaguing The Lone Star State. As temperatures rise and rainfall is rare, water levels have reached new lows, allowing for the vessels to become more visible.

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