Lost Franklin Expedition ship discovered in Nunavut

Researchers have found one of two ships lost in the 19th Century during the Franklin Expedition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

(Image of Franklin Expedition ship discovered by Parks Canada. Photo/Handout)

APTN National News
OTTAWA–Researchers have found one of two ships lost in the 19th Century during the doomed Franklin Expedition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

Harper said the ship’s existence was confirmed Sunday by a Parks Canada using a remote underwater vehicle in the Victoria Strait near King William Island, Nunavut.

“For more than a century this has been a great Canadian story, a mystery,” said Harper. “It has been the subject of scientists and historians, writers and singers.”

It’s unclear whether the discovered ship is the HMS Erebus or the HMS Terror which became trapped in ice in 1846 searching for the Northwest Passage through the Arctic.

The ships were last spotted by Inuit hunters before eventually vanishing.

Harper has made the search for the Franklin Expedition ship a personal quest.

Parks Canada has lead six searches for the ships since 2008.

Most of what is currently known about the ill-fated expedition comes from a note left in a cairn on King William Island. The message stated that the ships became trapped in ice for over a year. Sir John Franklin, who led the expedition, died on June 11, 1847. About 23 crew members also died in a similar way. The remaining crew tried to find a way to safety on foot, but eventually succumbed and were consumed by the elements.

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