Ship From Doomed Franklin Expedition Found in Arctic After 169 Years
A ship that figures in one of the greatest mysteries in Arctic exploration — the 1840s disappearance of the Franklin Expedition — has been found, Canadian authorities said Tuesday. It’s not know yet whether the ship found in Canada’s Arctic is the HMS Erebus or HMS Terror, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement, but the discovery was confirmed Sunday using a remote underwater vehicle. “This is truly a historic moment for Canada,” Harper said. “Franklin’s ships are an important part of Canadian history given that his expeditions, which took place nearly 200 years ago, laid the foundations of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.”
Harper’s statement did not say exactly where the wreck was found. But researchers believe the ships were trapped in the ice near King William Island and abandoned. The expedition left England in 1845 with a crew of 129 led by Sir John Franklin. Searches for the lost ships began in 1848, and eventually the bodies of crewmen were found on Beechey and King William islands. Notes left there indicated that the ships were trapped in 1846 — and after many deaths, including Franklin’s, the survivors attempted to walk to the mainland beginning in the spring of 1848. None made it to safety.