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SS Central America's Sunken Gold Recovered After 157 Years

Image: SS Central America's Sunken Gold Recovered After 157 Years

By Nick Sanchez   |   Tuesday, 06 May 2014 07:21 AM

Nearly 1,000 ounces of gold have been recovered from the S.S. Central America steamship that sank off the coast of South Carolina 157 years ago.

According to Fox News, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration had to dive a mile and half with its remotely operated vehicle to recover the first round of what could be tens of millions of dollars worth of gold. The ship originally sank in 1857 carrying thousands of pounds of gold back from California, claiming at least 425 lives.

"From what our research team has uncovered, along with the data collected by researchers for the court-appointed receiver, there is potentially a substantial amount of gold left on the site, along with some other interesting artifacts," said company president Mark Gordon.

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The excavation of the 280-foot sunken ship marks the ship's second round of exploration, after roughly $52 million worth of gold was recovered from it in the late 1980s by Tommy Thompson, the man who originally discovered it. After Thompson sold the gold to a mint, he went on the lam, and remains a fugitive after failing to appear in court. He stands accused of cheating his 9-person team of at least $2 million.

If the new exploration of the Central America is successful, those technicians may finally see some treasure of their own.

It's thought that there might be up to 10 tons of gold on site, and the team says less than 5 percent of the wreck was explored by Thompson a quarter century ago.

Because of the ongoing legal dispute, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia has appointed a receiver to supervise all of the findings both scientific and monetary. That supervisor, Bob Evans of Recovery Limited Partnership, said there may still be up to $86 million worth of gold on the ship.

"The SS Central America is one of the greatest shipwreck stories of all time," Odyssey’s CEO Greg Stemm said in a statement.

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