OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today the discovery of one of the shipwrecks of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845-48 British Arctic Expedition. At this time it is not clear which of the two ships, HMS Terror or Erebus, has been found because of similarities of the two vessels; however, the ship’s authenticity has been confirmed.
The discovery of the wreck was confirmed on Sunday, Sept. 7, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle recently acquired by Parks Canada. Details of where exactly the ship was found have not yet been released.
“I’m delighted to announce that this year’s Victoria Strait Expedition has solved one of Canada’s greatest mysteries,” said Harper in a release.
“I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all partners involved in this year’s momentous Victoria Strait Expedition, including Parks Canada, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Arctic Research Foundation, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Government of Nunavut.”
In addition to the numerous government agencies involved in this year’s search, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society had assembled a formidable group of private and non-profit partners to aid in the hunt. The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, the Arctic Research Foundation and Shell Canada joined the RCGS in the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition.
“This is one of the two most important undiscovered shipwrecks in the world. The discovery of a Franklin expedition ship raises the possibility that some of the enduring mysteries surrounding the expedition’s destruction can be solved,” says John Geiger, chief executive officer of the RCGS and its Head of Expedition, who had been participating in the search in Victoria Strait.
“It’s a wonderful and exciting discovery that promises to shed more light on the ill-fated expedition’s final months, weeks and days,” says Geiger, co-author of Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition. “The Franklin Expedition, and the search to understand its fate, is at the foundation of Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic.”
Royal Canadian Geographical Society Press release - Franklin Expedition wreck discovery
Statement by the Prime minister of Canada announcing the discovery of one of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition Ships lost in 1846