British warship found in Lake Ontario

June 13, 2008 at 11:48 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 13 (UPI) -- The wreck of a British warship that sank in a gale on Lake Ontario in 1780 has been located off the New York shoreline, its finders announced Friday.

Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville said the HMS Ontario is 500 feet below the surface, sitting upright on the bottom with both its masts still in place, the Los Angeles Times reported. The discovery team said they found the vessel between Niagara and Rochester, N.Y., this month after three years of searching.

The Ontario, an 80-foot brig-sloop, was launched in the spring of 1780 on Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence River. The vessel was used as a transport around Lake Ontario until Oct. 31 of that year.

There were 120 people, including women and children -- and possibly 30 American prisoners -- on board when the vessel went down in a sudden, violent gale, the Times said.

The two men located the Ontario with a side-scan sonar invented by Kennard and explored it with a remote-control vehicle designed by Scoville. They said they did not remove anything from the Ontario because they consider it a war grave.

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