Almost two centuries after it was abandoned and sank "without mercy" on the seabed, an ambitious archaeological dive in the Canadian Arctic has documented the eerily pristine shipwreck of the HMS Terror.
HMS Terror departed from England in 1845 along the HMS Erebus to explore the Northwest Passage as part of the Franklin Expedition. But the mission was doomed.
Both ships – including the captain and a crew of around 130 people – disappeared and despite search efforts in the years that followed, the wreck sites were only discovered in the early 2000s.
Exactly what happened to bring down the ill-fated expedition remains a mystery.
The latest attempt to explore the wreck of the HMS Terror could finally help investigators to assemble the missing pieces and thus provide the best view ever of the doomed ship – extremely well-preserved, experts say.
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Above you can see plates and other artifacts that are still sitting next to the mess table where crew members probably ate. According to the team, this was a pantry for people with a lower rank
Beautiful underwater pictures of the wreck show the HMS Terror exactly as it was left behind 170 years ago; shelves in the pantry are still lined with plates and glass bottles, and a tripod and a few thermometers are in Captain Francis Crozier's cabin.
Of the 20 cabins examined by Parks Canada's Underwater Archeology Team during seven remote-controlled vehicles (ROV) dives, this would be the best-preserved area of the entire lower deck.
Here, sediment seeped through the rear gallery windows, covered everything underneath, and kept it as it is.
Only the captain's sleeping quarters remain inaccessible, the team says.
"The condition in which we found Captain Crozier's cabin greatly exceeds our expectations," said Marc-André Bernier, manager of underwater archeology, Parks Canada.
Almost two centuries after it was abandoned and & # 39; without mercy & # 39; on the seabed sank, an ambitious archaeological dive in the Canadian Arctic has documented the creepy pristine shipwreck of the HMS Terror
The latest attempt to explore the wreck of the HMS Terror could finally help investigators to put together the missing pieces of the puzzle to provide the best view ever of the doomed ship – extremely well-preserved experts say
Beautiful underwater pictures of the wreck show the HMS Terror exactly as it was left behind 170 years ago; shelves in the utility room are still lined with plates and glass bottles, as shown above
Parks Canada's Underwater Archeology Team explored 20 cabins in the course of seven remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives, revealing an unprecedented view of the wreck
Upstairs a bunk bed, drawers and shelf can be seen in a cabin on the lower deck of the Terror. The team says it has managed to get clear images of more than 90 percent of the lower deck
# Not only are the furniture and cupboards in place, the drawers are closed and many are buried in sludge, encapsulating objects and documents in the best possible conditions for survival.
HMS Terror departed from England in 1845 along the HMS Erebus to explore the Northwest Passage as part of the Franklin Expedition. But the mission was doomed. The drawing shows it caught in Arctic ice
& # 39; Every drawer and other enclosed space is a treasure trove of unprecedented information about the fate of the Franklin expedition. & # 39;
The researchers, in collaboration with the Inuit, mapped the interior of the wreck to create 3D structural models.
They have managed to get clear images of more than 90 percent of the lower deck, the team says.
"The new recordings of HMS Terror are really extraordinary," said Susan Le Jeune d'Allegeershecque, British High Commissioner for Canada.
& # 39; The excellent condition of the ship will, I hope, mean that there will soon be answers to so many questions about the fate of the Franklin Expedition, shrouded in mystery since 1875. & # 39;
There is now hope that the well-preserved wreck still contains written documents that can help answer many of the questions surrounding the mystery of the demise of terror.
A storage compartment in Captain Crozier's cabin, partially covered with silt and sea life (sea anemones), with one of the cabin's rear gallery windows clearly visible in the background.
Everything found during the dives is co-owned by the Government of Canada and the Inuit, keeping the door open for future research initiatives
The captain's cabin would be the best-preserved area. Above you can see a storage unit covered with sea life sediment like anemones that now make their home there
Thanks to temperatures below zero (Celsius) and the lack of natural light, such artifacts are essentially & frozen in time & # 39 ;, the team notes.
Everything found during the dives is co-owned by the Government of Canada and the Inuit, keeping the door open for future research initiatives.
According to Catherine McKenna, minister of Environment and Climate Change and minister responsible for Parks Canada, the discovery is "a breakthrough in understanding the fate of the Franklin expedition."
& # 39; Today the mysteries of the Franklin expedition are revealed in new and fascinating ways. & # 39;
THE DAMNED FRANKLIN EXPEDITION
The doom was commanded by the 59-year-old Sir John Franklin (photo) who had sailed the North Pole three times before
The expedition, consisting of two ships led by the British Royal Navy captain Sir John Franklin, was aimed at finding a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific.
HMS Terror and HMS Erebus left England in 1845 under the leadership of Franklin and a crew of 128 people.
But somewhere after their departure, the ships got caught in the thick sea ice of the Canadian Arctic.
This ultimately condemned the crew to an icy death, although no one knows the exact details of what happened in the years that they missed.
Search parties were sent, to no avail.
The last message from the crew before they were swept away – sent on April 25, 1848 – indicated that there were survivors – but at that time they were leaving their ships behind.
The crew left the two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, north of King William Island and went on a tough journey south to a trading post on the mainland.
The crew has never heard of anything again, although skeletons and artifacts have been found since their disappearance.
Judging by the bodies found so far, none of the remaining crew even made a fifth of the road to safety.
Only in the early 2000s did divers discover the wrecks of the ships, which were amazingly far apart. HMS Erebus was found in 2014, followed by HMS Terror, in 2016.
HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were sent out in the summer of 1845 to find the Northwest Passage, but they took a crucial wrong turn and got stuck and surrounded by ice pack
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