The wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has finally been found off the coast of Antarctica 107 years after it sank.
The lost ship of the Anglo-Irish explorer had not been seen since it was crushed by ice and sank in the Weddell Sea on November 21, 1915.
Last month, the Endurance22 Expedition set off from Cape Town in South Africa on a mission to find the vessel – one month after the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest’s death, The Sun reports.
And Endurance was finally spotted on Saturday at a depth of 3008 metres and some six kilometres south of the position recorded by the ship’s Captain Frank Worsley, according to the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.
Even though the wreck has been sitting in water for more than a century, the expedition’s director of exploration said Endurance was “by far the finest wooden shipwreck” he has ever seen.
Mensun Bound, who has now fulfilled a dream ambition in his near 50-year career, said: “We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance.
“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen.
“It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail.
“This is a milestone in polar history.”
The ship is said to look much the same as when it was photographed for the final time by Shackleton’s filmmaker, Frank Hurley, in 1915.
The masts are down and the anchors can be seen – but the rigging is in a tangle and there is some damage at the bow, likely to be from the moment the sinking ship hit the seabed.
The expedition team even spied some boots and crockery on board.
Mr Bound told the BBC: “Beside the companion way, you can see a porthole that is Shackleton’s cabin.
“At that moment, you really do feel the breath of the great man upon the back of your neck.
“We found the wreck a hundred years to the day after Shackleton’s funeral. I don’t usually go with this sort of stuff at all, but this one I found a bit spooky.”
Dr John Shears, the expedition leader, described the moment cameras landed on the ship’s name as “jaw-dropping”.
He said: “The discovery of the wreck is an incredible achievement.
“We have successfully completed the world’s most difficult shipwreck search, battling constantly shifting sea-ice, blizzards, and temperatures dropping down to -18C.
“We have achieved what many people said was impossible.”
He added: “In addition, we have undertaken important scientific research in a part of the world that directly affects the global climate and environment.”