Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sir John Franklin search ship found

HMS Investigator was abandoned in 1853 after becoming trapped in ice while on its second voyage in search of the missing Franklin and his expedition.

Franklin and his entire crew were lost after setting sail for Northern Canada in 1845 during a fruitless attempt to find the Northwest Passage, a trade route between the Atlantic and Pacific through the Arctic Ocean.

The ship was discovered in shallow water in Mercy Bay in Canada's western Arctic, by researchers from Parks Canada this week.

The Investigator was one of a number of American and British ships sent to search for the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which were lost during Franklin's ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage in 1845.

It was abandoned in ice in 1953 by Captain Robert McClure and his men, who spent three years trying to negotiate the final leg of the Northwest Passage but were continually thwarted by ice.

Low on supplies and food, the 60 men eventually left the ship and were later rescued by another Royal Navy search party, but Capt McClure is held to be the first European to discover the passage's western entrance.

The masts and rigging have been shorn off by ice and weather in the 157 years since it was lost, but the rest of the ship has been well preserved by the reezing Arctic waters.

Marc-Andre Bernier, Parks Canada's head of underwater archaeology, said: "The ship is standing upright in very good condition. It's standing in about 11 meters (36 feet) of water.

"This is definitely of the utmost importance. This is the ship that sailed the last leg of the Northwest Passage."

The Parks Canada team arrived at Mercy Bay on July 22 and after three days the ice had cleared enough that sonar equipment could be used.

The wreck was found within 15 minutes, having hardly moved from the spot where it was abandoned.

Mr Bernier said there are no plans to bring the wreck to the surface, and that the team hopes to use underwater video equipment to capture footage of the ship before using similar technology to find the Erebus and Terror.

Jim Prentice, the Canadian Environment Minister, said the British government had been alerted to the finding of the shipwreck and the bodies of three sailors, who are thought to have died from scurvy.

Source From Great Site :

No comments: