British shipwreck found in Arctic 170 years after it vanished

Sir John Franklin shipwreck found 170 years after Northwest Passage expedition

British shipwreck found in Northwest Passage 170 years after it vanished

A British ship that disappeared almost 170 years ago has finally been discovered.

It was one of two vessels, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, that disappeared in the Arctic during a doomed bid to find a northern sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The ships' disappearance sparked one of the biggest maritime mysteries in history, and a rescue operation that lasted from 1848 to 1859.

The Northwest Passage expedition was led by Royal Navy officer Sir John Franklin in 1845. But his 129 crew were all lost at sea.

Back in 2008, a team of divers and archaeologists launches a mission to find the ships, to no avail.

But Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has now revealed a remote-controlled submarine has finally found one of them.

Wreck of Doomed Franklin Expedition Ship Discovered

According to the The Sun, he said in a statement: "I am delighted to announce that this year's Victoria Strait expedition has solved one of Canada's greatest mysteries, with the discovery of one of the two ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition.

"Finding the first vessel will no doubt provide the momentum - or wind in our sails - necessary to locate its sister ship and find out even more about what happened to the Franklin Expedition's crew."

According to the Daily Telegraph, sonar images indicate the vessel is well-preserved.

Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist who is one of the Parks Canada search team leaders, said that the image projected at a press conference showed the "deck structures were intact, including the main mast, which was sheared off by the ice when the ship sank".

British shipwreck found in Northwest Passage 170 years after it vanished

Franklin was on his fourth trip to the Arctic when his team vanished.

His wife urged the Admiralty to send a search party in 1847, but the government delayed it for another year.

Canada's government launched the 2008 search in a bid to establish sovereignty over the disputed waters of the Northwest Passage, where meting polar ice has now opened up the shipping route that Sir John and his team were seeking.

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Mail, a cruise line is offering daring (and rich) travellers the chance to traverse the Northwest Passage, the same route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In 2016, the Crystal Serenity will take 900 passengers on the largest expedition through the Northwest Passage ever made. But it will cost a pretty penny, setting passengers back between £12,500 and £93,000.

15 cruise deals for 2015

15 cruise deals for 2015

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