Frozen in Time: New Footage From Franklin Wreck

Arctic
Plates from the Terror, still on their shelves. Photo: Ryan Harris/Parks Canada

Amazing new footage has emerged from a shipwreck frozen for more than 170 years in the arctic waters of northern Canada.

The HMS Terror, together with the HMS Erebus, were part of John Franklin’s expedition to find a navigable path through the Northwest Passage in 1845. The ships became stuck in sea ice off King William Island, and all 129 eventually perished while attempting to walk to safety. It was the worst disaster in the long history of polar exploration.

The fate of the expedition remained a mystery until controversial Scottish explorer, John Rae, together with two indigenous companions uncovered their demise in 1854.

The Erebus was found in 11m of water in 2014. while the Terror turned up two years later, 24m down in aptly named Terror Bay.

Researchers have released new images of the remarkably well-preserved Terror that will shed new light on the fate of the expedition. The wreck has effectively been “frozen in time”, thanks to the cold, deep waters and a layer of silt which has preserved many artifacts.

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) gathered photos and video footage from 20 cabins and compartments on the ship, described by Parks Canada as “one of the largest, most complex underwater archaeological undertakings in Canadian history.”

Marc-André Bernier, manager of underwater archaeology at Parks Canada, said that the condition of the interior greatly surpassed expectations. “Not only are the furniture and cabinets in place, drawers are closed and many are buried in silt, encapsulating objects and documents in the best possible conditions for their survival. Each drawer and other enclosed space will be a treasure trove of unprecedented information on the fate of the Franklin Expedition.” The only area of the ship inaccessible to the ROV was the sleeping cabin of Captain Crozier, whose door was shut.
See the footage here:

About the Author

Peter Winsor

Peter is a journalist, travel writer and photographer based on the Gold Coast, Australia.

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Not an Everest Climber
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Not an Everest Climber

HMS Terror…what an ironic name! Great and fascinating read! Thanks, Peter!