HMS Terror Rediscovered 170 Years After Ill-Fated Northwest Passage Attempt

The fate of the Erebus and Terror was a popular subject for 19th century artists. John Wilson Carmichael

A ship perfectly matching the design of the long-lost HMS Terror has been located off the south coast of Canada's King William Island, almost 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of where the Terror was thought to have been abandoned. The discovery indicates an unrecorded chapter of the tragic events of the Franklin expedition, in which 129 explorers died.

From Magellan's hazardous voyage around Patagonia until the opening of the Panama Canal, Europeans searched for a shorter path around the Americas, hoping for a faster trade route to Asia. Many perished. Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition produced the worst death toll of all, as both of Franklin's ships became stuck in the ice while attempting the Northwest Passage, and the crews died of hypothermia, scurvy and probably lead poisoning after fleeing on foot.

For a decade after the disaster others sought the fate of Franklin. No survivors were found. The crew's fate as reported by local Inuits, searches for the ships, and the graves of the crew have drawn hundreds to the far north and inspired some of Canada's most beloved art.

Franklin's flagship, HMS Erebus was found two years ago. Now, the Arctic Research Foundation (ARF) has finally located HMS Terror, the voyage's second ship.

The ARF's expedition has yet to return or make an official announcement, but operations director Adrian Schimnowski contacted The Guardian with photographs and some film footage taken by a remotely operated submersible.

“We have successfully entered the mess hall, worked our way into a few cabins and found the food storage room with plates and one can on the shelves,” Schimnowski told them by email.



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