A BRITISH exploration ship abandoned on an ill-fated mission to travel through the fabled North West Passage has been discovered after almost 170 years.
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said scientists have found one of two ships lost on the Franklin Expedition in the Arctic Ocean off the far north of the country.
The ships, HMS Erebus, pictured, and HMS Terror, were abandoned by Sir John Franklin’s scientific expedition in 1846 after becoming trapped in polar ice.
None of the more than 100-strong team survived the trek back to civilisation.
Mr Harper said the discovery was a historic moment that ‘solved one of Canada’s greatest mysteries’.
He said: ‘Although we do not know yet whether the discovery is Her Majesty’s Ship Erebus or HMS Terror, we do have enough information to confirm its authenticity.
‘This is truly a historic moment for Canada. Franklin’s ships are an important part of Canadian history.’