British ship found after 157 years in Canada

July 30th, 2010 - 8:32 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 30 (DPA) Canadian scientists said Thursday that they have rediscovered the HMS Investigator, a famous British rescue ship that got trapped in Arctic ice 157 years ago while trying to track the fate of another Arctic expedition.
Archaeologists located the well-preserved hull of the Investigator 11 metres below sea surface in Mercy Bay on Banks Island. Using sonar equipment, they found the remains of the ship along with three corpses within 15 minutes of searching, they said.

The HMS Investigator had been searching for the fabled two ships of British Captain John Franklin - the ill-fated Terror and Erebus - that failed to return from the 1845 expedition that was looking for the fabled Northwest Passage. Franklin had been obsessed with finding the illustrious sea route that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the frozen wasteland.

Until recent climate change, the course was unnavigable, and even now, the passage only occasionally opens up.

While the Erebus and Terror have never been found, there is evidence that Franklin tried to lead the survivors of his 130-man expedition by foot out of the icy wilderness. Some men reportedly resorted to cannibalism as their sea mates died. The fate of the group held Europeans and North Americans in decades-long suspense as various expeditions searched for survivors.

The captain of the Investigator’s search team, Robert McClure, and most of his crew survived the search expedition after the ship got icebound in 1853. His crew of 60 waited three years for their rescue.

The location of the Investigator has been long surmised, since local Inuit residents stripped the superstructure of materials they had never seen - materials that had a “major impact” on the material culture of the local inhabitants, Canada’s Globe and Mail wrote.

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