PANAMA CITY, Panama, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A U.S. salvage expedition says it is close to finding the remains of Sir Francis Drake, the Elizabethan sailor and navigator, off the coast of Panama.
Drake died at sea in 1596 of dysentery and his body, clad in a full suit of armor and sealed in a lead coffin, is thought to be somewhere off the Panamanian coast.
Pat Croce, heading the expedition, said he has located two ships believed to have been scuttled shortly after Drake's death, the BBC reported Wednesday.
"This is absolutely a dream come true -- to find the ships of the most successful pirate in history, who single-handedly wreaked havoc on Spain's New Empire," said Croce, who owns the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum in Florida.
The remains of the ships, the Elizabeth and the Delight, were discovered at the bottom of Portobelo Bay, he said.
The expedition focused on Portobelo Bay after a researcher based in London pinpointed likely areas where the ships might have gone down, the BBC reported.