Shackleton's Famed Ship 'Endurance' Found Remarkably Well-Preserved in Antarctica After 107 Years
“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen," expedition director Mensun Bound said.
The tale of Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance, which became trapped in ice and sank during a 1915 polar expedition, is one of the most famous stories of survival ever.
Over a century later, the shipwreck has been found on the Antarctic seabed, two miles underwater, by a South Africa-based expedition team.
The ship was located with hybrid underwater search vehicles, four miles south of the position originally recorded by Captain Frank Worsley, according to a press release from the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.
“We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Captain Frank Worsley, the Captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our quest to locate the wreck,” expedition director Mensun Bound said in a statement.
In Antarctica’s Weddell Sea, Endurance never reached land and became trapped in the dense ice pack, according to the press release. A crew of 28 men on board eventually had no choice but to abandon ship.
The men set up a makeshift camp and spent months drifting on ice floes, before using lifeboats to reach the uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and five others then went on an extraordinary 800-mile journey in a lifeboat to find help, the press release said.
The explorer was able to mount a rescue of the men waiting on Elephant Island, before bringing them home without any loss of life.
Thanks to the frigid waters, the wreckage is remarkably well-preserved.
“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail. This is a milestone in polar history,” Bound said.
The wreck is protected as a historic site under the Antarctic Treaty, “ensuring that whilst the wreck is being surveyed and filmed it will not be touched or disturbed in any way,” the release said.
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