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Discovery Made Deep Beneath the Arctic's Icy Waters Solves Decades-Old Mystery

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One archaeologist said it's "the biggest archeological discovery" since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb

FILE - In this file image released by Parks Canada, shows a side-scan sonar image of a ship on the sea floor in northern Canada. Sir John Franklin was likely sailing on the HMS Erebus vessel when it vanished along with another vessel 170 years ago, Canada's prime minister announced Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Parks Canada, via The Canadian Press, File) AP Photo/Parks Canada, via The Canadian Press, File

A discovery made deep beneath the Arctic's icy waters has solved a mystery that has persisted for over a century: what happened to the fabled HMS Erebus, a ship that disappeared during an expedition in 1845?

On Thursday, the mystery was solved, with experts confirming that a shipwreck found last month in the Arctic was in fact the wreckage of the Victorian-era vessel.

FILE - In this file image released by Parks Canada, shows a side-scan sonar image of a ship on the sea floor in northern Canada. Sir John Franklin was likely sailing on the HMS Erebus vessel when it vanished along with another vessel 170 years ago, Canada's prime minister announced Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Parks Canada, via The Canadian Press, File)

"It is in astonishing condition,'' search team member John Geiger, who is alo president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, told the BBC. "We're over the moon."

The HMS Erebus — with captain Sir John Franklin — had set out with another ship in the mid 19th century searching for the Northwest Passage.

Both, however, vanished without a trace.

This image released by Parks Canada, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, shows a side-scan sonar image of ship on the sea floor in northern Canada. (AP Photo/Parks Canada, via The Canadian Press)

Until Thursday, it was never clear what happened to the vessel. The HMS Terror, its companion ship, has still not been located, the BBC reported.

According to the Mirror, archeologists were, however, happy with the HMS Erebus find because it was Franklin's own ship.

FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2014, file photo, Parks Canada's Ryan Harris, left, briefs Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on efforts to find the Franklin expedition aboard the HMCS Kingston west of Pond Inlet on the Eclipse Sound in Nunavut, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld, File)

The ship had generated interest largely because of the stories surrounding it.

Tales had been told of starving sailors abandoning the ship and freezing in the wilderness. Other stories suggested some crew members had resorted to eating each other.

British archeologist William Battersby said the location of the ship was "the biggest archeological discovery" since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb, the Mirror reported.

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