History

“It’s an extraordinary site”

Divers descend to Franklin wreck for the first time
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • 198 words
  • 1 minutes
Parks Canada’s Ryan Harris talked about the plan to dive at the wreck site last week before heading back to the Arctic. He is helming the dive at the Franklin shipwreck this week. Expand Image

A team of Parks Canada divers descended to the wreck of one of Sir John Franklin’s ships Wednesday, ending days of weather-related delays that had prevented them from becoming the first people to set eyes on the vessel in almost 170 years.

Divers were at the wreck site in Queen Maud Gulf from about 7.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., operating in two teams of four men each, split into a morning shift and an afternoon shift. It’s not known how many times each team dove on the wreck site, but each dive is believed to have lasted about one hour. Throughout the day, the team’s logistical needs were met by the Canadian Coast Guard, which ferried divers, oxygen tanks and even coffee between its Sir Wilfrid Laurier icebreaker and the dive site.

Parks Canada has not revealed the exact location of the wreck, and divers would not comment on any specifics of what they had seen while underwater. “Any day that you manage to dive in the Arctic is a successful day,” says Ryan Harris, the Parks Canada underwater archeologist who’s helming the survey of the wreck. “It’s an extraordinary site, there’s no doubt about that.”

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