Explorer Franklin's ships remain lost

Aug. 28, 2011 at 12:58 AM
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OTTAWA, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The latest effort to find the doomed ships of 19th century British arctic explorer Sir John Franklin ended in failure, Canadian officials say.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday archaeologists who spent six days searching an area west of King William Island found no sign of the shipwrecks HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which were carrying Franklin and his 128-member expedition when they disappeared in 1845 while seeking a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

It was the third time in four years Parks Canada archaeologists had tried to find the ships, which had gotten stranded in ice in the High Arctic.

Parks Canada's Marc-Andre Bernier said no decision has been made whether to renew the hunt for the Erebus and Terror next year. The searchers had intended to use a new underwater robotic vehicle this year but they were unable to deploy it.

"We're hoping if we continue next year, that's going to be available, but unfortunately for this year, we ran into some technical problems at the last minute, so that actually could not be used on this survey," he said.

The multi-year search was inspired by the discovery of small bits of copper sheeting that may have belonged to Franklin's ships.

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