Canada announced on Sunday the discovery of one of two British explorer ships that went missing in 1846 after becoming trapped in Arctic ice.
In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the event a “truly historic moment for Canada,” noting that one of Canada’s “greatest mysteries” had been solved.
The ship was found using a remote-operated underwater vehicle. The first underwater video of the ship is posted to the Parks Canada website.
Franklin’s Lost Expedition
The HMS Erebus and HMS Terror left England in 1845, led by British captain Sir John Franklin. The ships were headed for the Northwest Passage, but they hit trouble in the Canadian Arctic. Icebound for more than a year, the crew eventually ran out of supplies. Franklin and more than 20 of his men died. The hundred or so who did survive abandoned the ships in 1848 and headed for dry land, but none of the crew made it back home alive.
According to the AFP: “In the 1980s, Canadian researchers said the remains of expedition members found on Beechey Island indicated they had died of cold, hunger, and lead poisoning from canned food.”
More than three decades would pass without a sign of the actual ships. Since 2008, six major government-led searches were initiated to locate the ships, according a statement released by Parks Canada. The Victoria Straight Expedition discovered the first ship with the help of a remote-operated underwater vehicle.
Researchers were yet to determine whether the newly discovered vessel was the HMS Erebus or HMS Terror, however, Harper said he was confident that finding the first ship would “provide the momentum” necessary to locate its mate.
This is “a really important day in mapping together the history of out country,” Harper said in a video announcement. Watch below:
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