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Legendary Antarctic explorer's last ship found 60 years after disappearing

Legendary Antarctic explorer's last ship found 60 years after disappearing

The wreckage of Quest, the last ship to be sailed by renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, has been discovered after 60 years

The wreckage of an exploration ship commandeered by Sir Ernest Shackleton has been discovered.

Renowned exploration vessel called Quest continued to sail the world after Sir Ernest Shackleton passed away onboard in 1992, however, since it sunk in 1962, it has yet to be seen again - until now.

Shackleton's last expedition and the Quest's demise

On 17 September, 1921, Shackleton set sail from St Katharine Docks, London on board Quest for a two-year expedition to the Antarctic funded by British businessman John Q. Rowet.

The ship ended up stuck in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a month, reported by Inspiring Explorers as experiencing engine difficulties - as a result, the plan to go to Antarctica was called off.

Shackleton decided to sail for Georgia, US instead. But upon reaching south Georgia, a doctor was called on 5 January, 1922, as Shackleton, aged just 47, had suffered a heart attack and had died.

Despite Shackleton parting ways with Quest, that wasn't the end of the ship's adventure. It continued to venture the world, such as when it was sent to help search for Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen's remains in 1928, to being boarded by British explorer Gino Watkins in 1930.

However, in May 1962, despite surviving being a minesweeper in the Caribbean in WW2, the Quest struck ice while hunting seals in the Labrador Sea and sank.

Over 60 years later, it's wreckage has finally been found.

The Quest sunk in 1962. (Royal Canadian Geographical Society)
The Quest sunk in 1962. (Royal Canadian Geographical Society)

Discovery of the wreckage

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society conducted an expedition to try and find the wreckage of the Quest.

Led by CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, John Geiger, alongside shipwreck hunter David Mearns and lead researcher Antoine Normandin, the team - made up of members from the UK, US, Norway and Canada - did months of research before hopping aboard search vessel Leeway Odyssey to go and look for the wreckage.

The expedition took place in the North West Atlantic and used sonar equipment - and it was on day five the team made an exciting discovery.

And after 60 years of it lying in the water, the Quest was found on the seabed, northwest of St. John’s and east of Battle Harbour, Labrador.

The wreckage of Quest has since been found. (Royal Canadian Geographical Society)
The wreckage of Quest has since been found. (Royal Canadian Geographical Society)

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society reports the ship was found not just intact, but also upright in '390 meters of water'.

Mearns said: "I can definitively confirm that we have found the wreck of Quest. Data from high resolution side-scan sonar imagery corresponds exactly with the known dimensions and structural features of this special ship, and is also consistent with events at the time of the sinking."

Geiger resolved: "Finding Quest is one of the final chapters in the extraordinary story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton was known for his courage and brilliance as a leader in times of crisis.

"The tragic irony is that his was the only death to take place on any of the ships under his direct command."

Featured Image Credit: Canadian Geographic/Getty Images/ullstein bild Dtl.

Topics: World News, Antarctica, Travel, Canada