Ernest Shackleton’s ship found in Antarctica 107 years later

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Ernest Shackleton's ship found in Antarctica 107 years later

One of the most storied shipwrecks in maritime history has been found off the coast of Antarctica — some 107 years after explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s vessel was crushed by ice and sank to the bottom of the sea.

Organizers of the two-week expedition announced the historic find of the Endurance Wednesday at a depth of more than 9,800 feet in the Weddell Sea after the 144-foot wooden ship sank in 1915. The wreck, which is incredibly well-preserved, will be studied and filmed, but not disturbed, researchers said.

“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen,” said Mensun Bound, director of exploration at the Falklands Maritme Heritage Trust, which spearheaded the expedition. “It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation.”

Ernest Shackleton’s ship
The wreck is protected as a historic site and monument under the Antarctic Treaty.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Ernest Shackleton’s ship
The wreck was discovered 100 years after Ernest Shackleton’s death.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Ernest Shackleton’s ship
In 1915, Ernest Shackleton and his crew were forced to make a stunning escape.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Ernest Shackleton’s ship
The extremely cold waters of the Weddell Sea likely led to the ship’s near-pristine condition.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus

Photos show the ship’s name “Endurance” clearly visible above a star on its stern, while other showed a rear deck and its wheel.

“This is a milestone in polar history,” Bound said in a statement. “We hope our discovery will engage young people and inspire them with the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance to Antarctica.”

The shipwreck was discovered by the Endurance22 team using underwater drones some four miles away from its last known position recorded by its captain, Frank Worsley, researchers said. Those detailed records were pivotal to the “monumental” find, Bound said.

Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust organized the expedition to find it.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The shipwreck was discovered by the Endurance22 team using underwater drones.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
In late 1914, Ernest Shackleton set out to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica from the Weddell Sea via the South Pole.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
In 1915, the Endurance was trapped by dense pack ice.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus

“It’s beautiful,” Bound told NBC News. “It just doesn’t get any better.”

The extremely cold waters of the Weddell Sea likely led to the ship’s near-pristine condition since no “wood-eating microbes and microorganisms” were viable at that temperature, a British historian told NBC News.

“It is super cold,” historian Dan Snow said. “It’s probably just below zero.”

Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
Photos show the ship’s name “Endurance” clearly visible above a star on its stern.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The crew spent months in makeshift camps on ice floes.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The crew ultimately used lifeboats to reach the uninhabited Elephant Island.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
Organizers of the two-week expedition announced the historic find of the Endurance Wednesday.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus

In late 1914, Irish-British explorer Shackleton set out to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica from the Weddell Sea via the South Pole. But Endurance never reached land and got trapped in densely packed ice, forcing all 28 men on board to abandon ship.

The crew ultimately used lifeboats to reach the uninhabited Elephant Island after spending months in makeshift camps on ice floes, researchers said.

The wreck, which was discovered 100 years after Shackleton’s death, is protected as a historic site and monument under the Antarctic Treaty.

The crew endeavouring to cut their ship 'Endurance' out of the ice during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17, February 1915
The crew cut their ship Endurance out of the ice during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17, February, 1915.
Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
Endurance never reached land and got trapped in densely packed ice.
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The Endurance was found at a depth of more than 9,800 feet in the Weddell Sea.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus
Over a century after it sank to the depths of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the lost ship of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, has been found.
The wreck will be studied and filmed, but not disturbed.
Falklands Maritime Heritage Trus

“The Endurance22 expedition has reached its goal,” Dr. John Shears, who led the underwater odyssey, said in a statement. “We have made polar history with the discovery of Endurance, and successfully completed the world’s most challenging shipwreck search.”

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