Search finds no sign of Arctic shipwrecks

“I’m always disappointed if we don’t find something”



The Canadian government scientists hoping for a second major Arctic shipwreck discovery this summer came up empty after a six-day search for the Terror and Erebus, the lost vessels of the 19th-century Franklin expedition.

Parks Canada archeologist Ryan Harris, who earlier this year led the discovery off Northwest Territories’ Banks Island of the HMS Investigator — one of many British ships sent to look for the Terror and Erebus in the 1850s — said Monday a 150-square-kilometre sweep of waters near Nunavut’s O’Reilly Island in the Queen Maud Gulf yielded no sign of the lost Franklin vessels.

But Harris and Marc-Andre Bernier, Parks Canada’s director of underwater archeology, said this summer’s search — along with a previous probe in 2008 — has narrowed the hunt for the Franklin ships to an area on the northeast side of O’Reilly Island, located between mainland Nunavut and King William Island.

A third season of searching is expected to take place in 2011.

“I’m always disappointed if we don’t find something,” Harris said during a conference call with reporters. But asked if he believes the Franklin ships will eventually be found he said: “I’m fairly confident they will be.”

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