Researchers Follow Hunch, Find Long-Sought Shipwreck

HMS Terror found in mint condition in Arctic bay
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2016 3:58 PM CDT
Researchers Follow Hunch, Find Long-Sought Shipwreck
This is the bell from the HMS Erebus, found two years ago. Its sister ship, the HMS Terror, is now found, too.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang)

A crew searching the Arctic has found the second and final lost ship from one of the most renowned polar expeditions in history. Researchers with the Arctic Research Foundation say they have located the HMS Terror off King William Island, reports the Ottawa Citizen. (Coincidentally, it was found in Terror Bay.) The ship and its sister vessel, the HMS Erebus, went down in 1848 after an expedition led by British explorer John Franklin to find the Northwest Passage got stuck in ice. None of the 129 men survived. The discovery of the Terror is notable on several fronts, including its pristine condition. "If you could lift this boat out of the water, and pump the water out, it would probably float," a researcher tells the Guardian. Three panes of glass still guard the captain's cabin.

Also of note is how it was discovered: The search vessel detoured miles away from the main group after an Inuit crew member told the captain of seeing a mast sticking out of the ice years ago in this general location. The hunch paid off. And certainly not least, the location of the two ships may now change the narrative of the crews' final days. It has been long thought that the men abandoned their ships near the north end of Victoria Strait and attempted to walk out of the Arctic. Now it appears that at least some of the men reboarded the vessels and tried to sail south. "This discovery changes history," says a foundation official. The theory is that the remaining Terror crew eventually scuttled it intentionally, then boarded the Erebus, which made it another 50 miles or so south. (The Erebus was found two years ago.)

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