Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parks Canada Confirms Ship Found in Arctic Was Franklin's HMS Terror

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parks Canada Confirms Ship Found in Arctic Was Franklin's HMS Terror

Article excerpt

Parks Canada confirms Franklin ship found

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Parks Canada scientists are already panting with impatience to return to the "dramatic, pristine" wreck found in the Arctic earlier this month that has now been positively identified as the second ship from the doomed Franklin expedition.

"It's going to be a long winter," said archaeologist Ryan Harris.

Three dives to the HMS Terror discovered Sept. 3 off Nunavut's King William Island suggest the vessel lost more than 160 years ago during Sir John Franklin's search for the Northwest Passage is in excellent shape, said Harris.

"It appears to be intact from stem to stern."

The ship was discovered in about 24 metres of water in Terror Bay after a tip from an Inuit hunter who recalled seeing a mast sticking through the sea ice seven years ago.

Since then, poor visibility has hampered dives at the site, Harris said. But there was still plenty to see.

"On the first dive, we could see the flue pipe from the ship's furnace (and) features like the stern davits for deploying the ship's boats. The team that went around the stern was able to peer at the stern gallery windows and the cabin that would have been Capt. Crozier's cabin."

But the fact the Terror seems to have gone down in such a trim, shipshape fashion -- the bowsprit still points proudly forward -- holds out the possibility of archaeological treasure within its oaken hull.

"In terms of the contents of the ship, that offers opportunities that just boggle the imagination," Harris said.

"With intact cabins and all the partitions potentially still in place, and with gallery windows closed and hatches shut up, it's largely a sealed environment that could preserve remarkably well otherwise-delicate materials, including organic materials, written documents, charts, and all manner of material like that."

It'll be a while before divers are inside the wreck, though. …

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