Scientists aboard SA’s polar vessel SA Agulhas II have found the 107-year-old wreck of Endurance in the remote Weddell Sea close to the South Pole, the expedition team announced on Wednesday.
The wreck was found on March 5 at a depth of 3,008m, about four miles (about 6.5km) south of the position originally recorded when it was swallowed by ice more than a century ago, prompting one of history’s most dramatic rescue stories.
The expedition team located the wreck using underwater search vehicles.
“The Endurance22 expedition has reached its goal,” said expedition leader Dr John Shears.
“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.”
The search for the Endurance has captured public imagination, not least because of its remote location and the dramatic events that befell the imperial trans-Antarctic expedition.
Sir Ernest Shackleton had attempted to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica but failed after the Endurance became trapped in dense pack ice in 1915.
The crew of 28 abandoned ship and spent months in makeshift camps on ice floes while drifting northwards. They eventually escaped on life rafts.