Thursday, July 29, 2010

HMS INVESTAGATOR found in Arctic after 162 years

A British ship abandoned in the Arctic in 1848 while on a rescue mission has been found intact in Canada.
Canadian archaeologists found the HMS Investigator under about 25 feet of pristine, icy water in Mercy Bay using sonar and metal detectors, the BBCreported.
The HMS Investigator, captained by Robert McClure, left Britain in 1848 to find a team led by Sir John Franklin who reportedly perished in the frozen Arctic while trying to find the Northwest Passage.
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. McClure is credited as the first European to discover the western entrance to the Northwest Passage.
The crew of the Investigator abandoned the ship in the Canadian Arctic when it became trapped in ice. Running low on supplies and food, McClure and his men were eventually rescued by the Royal Navy.
"It's an incredible sight. You're looking at what people have not seen in 156 years, which is a remarkably intact British sailing vessel," Canadian Minister of Environment Jim Prentice was quoted as saying.
"You could make out all the planking on the deck, the details on the hull, all of the detail of the timber," he said. "It's sitting perfectly upright on the floor of the ocean."
The Canadian researchers also found three graves of British sailors.
Parks Canada, a government agency, will study the ship's artefacts but will not remove them, he said.

A team of Canadian archaeologists has found a British ship that has been missing in the Arctic for more than 150 years.
HMS Investigator left Britain in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure.
It was on a rescue mission to find an earlier expedition led by Sir John Franklin.
But the Investigator became trapped in sea ice and was abandoned by crew members, who were rescued.
The vessel was located on Sunday with the help of sonar, just 15 minutes after workers from Parks Canada started looking.
It is about 11 metres from the surface, near Banks Island, in the west of the Arctic archipelago, where the crew abandoned ship in 1853 after spending three winters on the ice.
The wreck was described as being in good condition.
Marc-Andre Bernier, chief of underwater archaeology at Parks Canada, said the find was of utmost importance.
"This is the ship that sailed the last leg of the Northwest Passage and in doing so McClure and his crew were credited with finding the Northwest Passage," he said.
"It's the history of a crew of over 60 men that had to winter two times in the Arctic and being locked two years in the ice.
"So you can imagine the hopes and the (disappointment) of not seeing the ship being freed in the summer and not knowing if they were going to survive."
The next step will be to send down a robot equipped with cameras for a closer look.

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