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After much anticipation, episode of National Geographic show featuring Yorktown has broadcast date

An episode of National Geographic’s show “Drain the Oceans” will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery.
Credit: WYDaily/YorkCounty
Boat docked on the York River in Virginia

YORKTOWN, Va. — A date has finally been announced for the episode of National Geographic’s show, “Drain the Oceans,” which will feature Yorktown.

The episode will premier on June 2 at 9 p.m. and will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery.

In 2019, a film crew from National Geographic flew from London to Virginia to document a recently discovered Revolutionary War shipwreck in the mud of the York River. The ship was discovered by JRS Explorations in June 2019 and evidence of charred wood and cannons indicated the vessel might be a troop transport ship known as “Shipwright.”

According to historians, the Shipwright and another transport ship were anchored in the York River in October 1781 when the French fired a “hot shot” at the largest warship in Gen. Cornwallis’ fleet, the HMS Charon.

The Charon caught fire and drifted into the two transport ships, causing the Shipwright to catch fire and sink three vessels. An excavation in the 1930s confirmed these details about the ships, which still sit at the bottom of the river.

The crew from JRS Explorations included John Broadwater, vice president and chief archaeologist, Joshua Daniel, president of Daniel Archaeological Consulting, Bill Waldrop and Bill Utley, with the Archaeological Society of Virginia Maritime Heritage Chapter.

Following the discovery by JRS Explorations, film crews from National Geographic used Riverwalk Landing Piers as their home base to gather footage for Drain the Oceans. The show will use scientific data and digital recreations, according to the county tourism office.

In the episode, the York River will be “drained” using computer generated image technology to show exactly what is beneath the water’s surface, according to the Visit Yorktown website.

Drain the Oceans has covered numerous underwater mysteries, legends and historic artifacts, including U-boats, Malaysia Airlines 370, mysteries of the China seas, D-Day and more, according to the show website.

Editor’s note: Parts of this story were originally published in October 2019.