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One of the two lost Franklin Expedition ships found

Image Credit: Parks Canada

Image Credit: Parks Canada

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 2:32 PM - A missing piece of Canada's heritage has been found beneath the frigid waters of the Arctic: One of the two ships of the doomed Franklin expedition.

Launched in the 1840s, Sir John Franklin's two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, were tasked with mapping the then-unknown seas of what is now Canada's Arctic archipelago, in search of the Northwest Passage.

The ships never returned, and since 1845 their fate was unknown, until today, when a Canadian search team announced they'd found one of the vessels.

Using an underwater vessel recently bought by Parks Canada, the searchers found the ship 11 m below the waves.

Exactly which of the two missing ships it is remains undetermined, but the radar image above, released by Parks Canada, shows the wreck in remarkably good shape.

Ryan Harris, an archeologist who was one of the people leading the Parks Canada search, told the Canadian Press that most of the ship's deck structures are still intact, including the main mast, which was sheared off by the ice when the ship sank. He added the ship's contents are also likely in similar good shape.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently accompanied an expedition to the region, was visibly delighted by the find.

"For more than a century, this has been a great Canadian story and mystery,'' Harper said at a press conference Tuesday. "I'd say it's been the subject of scientists and historians and writers and singers. So I think we have a really important day in mapping together the history of our country."

With files from the Canadian Press.

DON'T MISS: Check back Sunday for our weekend feature on the Franklin expedition.

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