London: A nearly 170-years-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Franklin Expedition and its 128 crew, after leaving Greenhithe in Kent in 1845 has been solved.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has revealed that this year’s Victoria Strait expedition had discovered one of the ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition, on the bed of the Arctic Ocean, and may help in locating its sister ship, the Mirror reported.
British archaeologist William Battersby has said that the find was “the biggest archaeological discovery” since the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb almost 100 years ago.
Harper added that this discovery has solved one of Canada’s greatest mysteries and will help in finding out about what happened to the expedition’s crew, which had gone missing, even after carrying enough food in the two ships to last three years under orders to cross the last uncharted section of the Victoria Strait.
Local Inuit had revealed that they had discovered 30 bodies with severed limbs and bones stripped of flesh, raising suggestions the crew resorted to eating each other and an archaeological dig on nearby King William Island in the 1990s uncovered bones carrying signs of cannibalism .
The Royal Navy ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, had disappeared during a daring arctic expedition led by explorer Sir John Franklin and the 128 sailors who set out to find the fabled Northwest Passage in 1845 but both the vessels had vanished.