world News : Explorer Shackleton's last ship discovered 'intact' on sea floor - as sonar image released

world News : Explorer Shackleton's last ship discovered 'intact' on sea floor - as sonar image released
world News : Explorer Shackleton's last ship discovered 'intact' on sea floor - as sonar image released

Wednesday 12 June 2024 11:45 PM

newsonline - The ship Sir Ernest Shackleton made his final voyage on has been found off the coast of Canada – 62 years after it sank.

Irish explorer Shackleton suffered a heart attack and died aboard Quest while trying to reach the Antarctic in January 1922. He was 47 years old.

After his death, Quest was acquired by a Norwegian company and involved in several expeditions until 5 May 1962, when it sank after being damaged by ice. All of the crew survived.

The shipwreck has now been found "intact" in the Labrador Sea off the coast of Newfoundland, said the Shackleton Quest Expedition, led by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Image: Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Pic: PA

The schooner-rigged steamship is on the sea floor at a depth of 390m and was found by wreck searchers with the help of sonar equipment, it added.

The discovery comes 150 years after Shackleton was born and has been hailed as "one of the final chapters in [his] extraordinary story" by the expedition's leader John Geiger.

Undated handout photo issued by Shackleton of (left-right) Antoine Normandin, Deputy Search Director, John Geiger, Expedition Leader and CEO, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, David Mearns, Search Director, Blue Water Recoveries Ltd. Pic: PA
Image: The team behind the discovery: Antoine Normandin, John Geiger and David Mearns. Pic: PA

"Shackleton was known for his courage and brilliance as a leader in crisis," Mr Geiger said. "The tragic irony is that his was the only death to take place on any of the ships under his direct command."

Who was Sir Ernest Shackleton?

Shackleton was born in Kilkea, Ireland, in 1874 and is best known for leading British expeditions to the Antarctic.

He joined the merchant navy aged 16 and, in 1901, landed a place on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's first Antarctic expedition.

Just six years later, he led his own voyage to the region, on the Nimrod, and made it to roughly 97 miles from the South Pole. He was knighted when he returned to England.

Shackleton's next Antarctic expedition started in 1914. The ship became locked in pack ice in January 1915 and was gradually crushed, sinking in October of that year.

The crew drifted on ice floes for five months before Shackelton led a small group of men on a mission in small boats to raise the alarm – which led to all members of the Endurance crew being rescued.

The mission is considered one of the greatest-ever survival tales and cemented Shackleton's status as one of the greatest Antarctic explorers.

He died in January 1922, aged 47, after a heart attack on board Quest while attempting his fourth Antarctic expedition.

Search director David Mearns said of the ship: "She is intact.

"Data from high resolution side scan sonar imagery corresponds exactly with the known dimensions and structural features of this special ship. It is also consistent with events at the time of the sinking."

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Another of Shackleton's ships, Endurance, was found in 2022.

The vessel sank after becoming stuck in pack ice in Antarctica's Weddell Sea in 1915.

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