Ghostship – The Baychimo

The Baychimo
The Baychimo

The Baychimo became trapped in ice in 1931

After a few days the ship vanished

Sightings  continued till 1969


The Baychimo, a 1,322 ton steam ship owned by the Hudson Bay Trading Company, regularly traveled to Alaska and British Columbia transporting goods and passengers, and fur trading with the Inuit who lived along the Beaufort Sea.

On October 1, 1931, Baychimo was making a return trip to Vancouver. She’d completed a run to Victoria Island, and her hold was stuffed with furs. Unfortunately for captain John Cornwell and the crew, winter arrived sooner than expected with freezing temperatures, strong winds, and the threat of blizzards. Baychimo became stuck fast in the pack-ice, and the crew were helpless to do anything except wait.

Luck seemed to be on the captain’s side since two days later, the ice shifted and Baychimo broke free, but Dame Fortune was fickle. The ship continued to be trapped, then released by the thickening ice. By October 15, the Hudson Bay Company sent airplanes to rescue twenty-two of the crew, but the captain and fourteen other crew members stayed behind, building a shelter on the ice. Imagine their surprise when they awoke on November 25, the morning after a terrible blizzard, to find Baychimo gone.

A few days later, a seal hunter told Cornwell he’d spotted the ship adrift about forty-four miles (71 km) southwest. As time passed, the company continued to receive reports from eyewitnesses who had seen the drifting ghost ship. By 1939, scores of sightings were reported. However, no one was able to catch up to Baychimo, which continued to uncannily elude pursuit. The last sighting occurred in 1969. Despite recent searches, the ship’s ultimate fate remains unknown.