The wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica after more than 100 years.
Astonishing new footage shows the famous explorer’s long-lost vessel, which was crushed by ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915.
It was found at a depth of 3,008 metres and approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by the ship’s Captain Frank Worsley, according to the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.
Amazingly, Endurance appears to be largely intact after a century underwater. The name is even still arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail.
The discovery has been named ‘a milestone in polar history’ by the team sent out to search for it.
The Endurance22 Expedition set off from Cape Town, South Africa, a month after the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest’s death.
‘We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance’, the expedition’s director of exploration, Mensun Bound, said today.
‘This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation.’
Mr Bound paid tribute to the ‘navigational skills’ of Captain Worsley and said he hoped the ‘discovery will engage young people and inspire them with the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance’.
Endurance was first launched in 1912 from Sandefjord in Norway as Sir Ernest and his crew set out to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica.
But the 28 men on board were forced to abandon ship when she eventually became trapped in dense pack ice. All of the crew survived.
Sir Ernest has been hailed as one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
Dr John Shears, the expedition leader, said: ‘The Endurance22 expedition has reached its goal.
‘We have made polar history with the discovery of Endurance, and successfully completed the world’s most challenging shipwreck search.
‘In addition, we have undertaken important scientific research in a part of the world that directly affects the global climate and environment.
‘We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, with live broadcasting from on board, allowing new generations from around the world to engage with Endurance22 and become inspired by the amazing stories of polar exploration, and what human beings can achieve and the obstacles they can overcome when they work together.’