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Lauren Admire | 2 Aug 2010 21:00
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Canadian scientists have found the shipwrecked vessel that first discovered the Northwest Passage. The vessel was the HMS Investigator, a British ship that was sent in 1845 to find two lost ships that had been a part of Sir John Franklin's Royal Navy expedition to discover the passage that linked the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The sunken ship was found at Mercy Bay near the Northwest Territories by Marc-Andre Bernier of Parks Canada, who used sonar images to locate the vessel. Bernier compares the discovery to finding one of Columbus' ships.

"It's in surprisingly good condition," said Bernier. "The reason we were so lucky in a way was because the ship had not moved too much from the place it was abandoned."

The ship was well-preserved due to the icy waters in the bay, where it sank in 1854. The HMS Investigator was deployed in 1850, but was abandoned after being spending two winters in the Arctic ice. The crew left behind equipment and provisions on the ship and at the shore, an "incredibly rich treasure trove" for archaeologists, according to Jim Prentice. The graves of three Royal Navy sailors were also found at the site.

"This really knits together the history of that really early exploration - this history of the Inuit people ... who have been here thousands of years, and our modern attempts here in Canada," said Prentice.

Source: Red Orbit

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