Franklin Ship Discovered by Canada Was HMS Erebus

Sir John Franklin’s own ship HMS Erebus from his failed 1845 Arctic expedition was identified today as the vessel that Canadian searchers discovered last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

“I am delighted to confirm that we have identified which ship from the Franklin expedition has been found,” Harper told the House of Commons today in Ottawa. “It is, in fact, the HMS Erebus.” He didn’t elaborate on how the identification was made.

Canadian officials said Sept. 9 they discovered one of the two sunken British ships about 11 meters (36 feet) below the surface in Queen Maud Gulf, off the Nunavut mainland, about 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) northwest of Toronto. The other ship that disappeared on the expedition, HMS Terror, remains missing.

The Erebus and Terror left England in May 1845 under Franklin’s command on an expedition to search for a northwest passage from Europe to Asia. The expedition’s two ships set out with 134 officers and men.

The ships became trapped in ice in late 1846 and remained so for about one and a half years, according to a message found in a cairn on King William Island in 1859.

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