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1846 Northwest Passage expedition ship found in Canadian Arctic

Sep 10, 2014 12:31 IST

Sir John Franklin's doomed 1846 Northwest Passage expedition ship was found in Canadian Arctic on 9 September 2014. The ship belonged to former governor of Tasmania Sir John Franklin.

The ship was among the two ships that disappeared during Northwest Passage expedition. The two ships were HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The Sonar images released by Parks Canada showed the remains of the ship.  The underwater video showed shattered timbers and other wreckage lying on the bottom of the seabed.

However, it is still unclear that which of the two ships had actually been discovered.

Background
Sir John Franklin owned two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. These two ships disappeared on an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Arctic.

Under the command of Franklin and Captain Francis Crozier, the two ships left England on 19 May 1845 to discover the Northwest Passage. There were  134 people on the ship.

Since then, the circumstances surrounding the fate of the Franklin Expedition didn't become clear. However in 1859, a vessel chartered by Franklin's widow Lady Jane Franklin came across a message on King William Island.

The message revealed that Franklin and 23 crew members died on 11 June 1847 in uncertain circumstances. On 22 April 1848, 105 survivors left the ships in an attempt to reach solid ground on foot, but none of them survived. Subsequently, all sailors died. The two vessels were ultimately engulfed by ice.

Sir John Franklin
• Sir John Franklin was a Royal Navy officer.
• He undertook several Arctic expeditions before 1837.
• In 1837, he became lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania. He served there until 1843.
• The state's Franklin River is named after him.
• Franklin's ships were an important part of Canadian history. He laid the foundations of Canada's Arctic sovereignty through his expeditions that took place nearly 200 years ago.

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