Hundreds line up to view underwater crucifix in Michigan

PHOTO: Alex Childress

Hundreds waited in line over the weekend to get a rare glimpse of an underwater crucifix in Little Traverse Bay off Lake Michigan, in the city of Petoskey, Michigan.

The 1,800-pound Italian white marble crucifix is 11 feet tall with a 5-foot-5-inch figure of Jesus Christ on it, according to 

Originally to honor a diver who drowned in Torch Lake, the crucifix came to the city in 1962 and became a shrine to memorialize all those who perished at sea, the site says. 

The crucifix was crafted, however, in the 1950s in memory of a 15-year-old boy who died in a shotgun accident at the family farm in 1956. It broke during transport and the family rejected it, so it was sold in an insurance sale to the Wyandote dive club. The crucifix then made its way Little Traverse Bay where it was placed in the water, about 800 feet from shore and more than 20 feet below the surface, according to Emmet County.

Since 1986, when the ice is thick enough and weather conditions are just right, there have been viewings of the crucifix that usually take place at the end of February or early March. 

A team of residents drill through several feet of thick ice and a tent is placed up around it so people can safely view it.

The event is free and open to the public, and gives divers a chance to practice their winter diving, according to WZZM

This past weekend hundreds of people made their way to the crucifix for the viewing. Video from photographer Alex Childress shows the entire process from trek out onto the ice, the hoisting of the flag, to the drilling into the ice to reveal the crucifix below the surface.

Watch the full viewing below: