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Shipwreck is grave of 499 who were already dead

The watery grave of more than 500 people has been found off the coast of New Zealand after more than a century — but most of those aboard were already dead when the SS Ventnor sank in 1902.

The steamer was carrying the exhumed remains of 499 Chinese gold miners back to their homeland when it hit a reef and sank about 13 miles off Hokianga Harbor in the far north of New Zealand, TVNZ reports; 13 crew members perished.

In the years after the wreck, bones would occasionally wash ashore and would be buried with respect by the local Maori, but the ship's location was a mystery until it was found in 2012 with an echo sounder; using footage taken by an unmanned sub the next year, the ship's identity was confirmed.

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