Tags: hms erebus | arctic | shipwreck | identified

HMS Erebus: Arctic Shipwreck Identified as British Explorer's

Image: HMS Erebus: Arctic Shipwreck Identified as British Explorer's
The ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror used in Sir John Franklin's ill-fated attempt to discover the Northwest passage. Original Publication: Illustrated London News pub 24th May 1845 (Photo by Illustrated London News/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 07:06 PM

An arctic shipwreck found last month was identified Wednesday as the HMS Erebus, one of two British ships lost in the mid-1800s on the Franklin Expedition.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the news in the House of Commons.

The HMS Erebus, along with HMS Terror, were part of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage to Asia via the Atlantic Ocean. But the ships disappeared in 1846, last seen by crew members on two whaling boats in Baffin Bay, AFP said

The HMS Terror has not been located.

Underwater archeologists have been diving to the HMS Erebus wreck since it was discovered, and high-resolution photos and video helped to determine which ship it was.

"Without a doubt it is the most extraordinary shipwreck I've ever had the privilege of diving on," Ryan Harris, a senior underwater archeologist with Parks Canada, told CBC News. He said most of the diving has shown information about the external condition of the ship because divers couldn’t get to the inside.

The ships became stuck in ice and crew members may have stayed nearby until rations ran out more than a year later, AFP said. Harris told CBC the crew left a note that Franklin died in June 1847.

“The last members of the Franklin expedition are believed to have faced starvation, disease and possibly cannibalism before their deaths in the Arctic,” the CBC wrote.

The BBC said Inuit hunters over the years told stories about white men who were seen starving in the wilderness.

"It is in astonishing condition,'' search team member John Geiger, president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, said of the HMS Erebus to the BBC. "We're over the moon." 

In a statement when the ship was found, Harper said, “Finding the first vessel will no doubt provide the momentum — or wind in our sails — necessary to locate its sister ship and find out even more about what happened to the Franklin Expedition's crew."

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An arctic shipwreck found last month was identified Wednesday as the HMS Erebus, one of two British ships lost in the mid-1800s on the Franklin Expedition.
hms erebus, arctic, shipwreck, identified
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2014-06-02
Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 07:06 PM
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