Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship Endurance found 107 years after sinking off Antarctica

The legendary lost ship Endurance was found — in remarkably good condition — 10,000 feet underwater off the Antarctic Coast, where it sank in 1915, National Geographic announced this morning.

Why it matters: This is one of history’s most famous shipwrecks. Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, trying to reach the South Pole, abandoned the wooden Endurance after it was trapped in ice. The ship was crushed by ice and sank.

 Video still: The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, National Geographic
Video still: The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, National Geographic

The South African icebreaker S.A. Agulhas II slowly pushed through huge slabs of ice — itself briefly getting stuck in sea ice — before arriving in mid-February at the site where the Endurance was believed to lie.

  • “A team of adventurers, marine archaeologists and technicians located the wreck … using undersea drones,” the N.Y. Times reports.
  • “Battling sea ice and freezing temperatures, the team had been searching for more than two weeks in a 150-square-mile area around where the ship went down in 1915.”
The starboard bow of the 144-foot Endurance
Video still: The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, National Geographic

Here’s the starboard bow of the 144-foot Endurance, discovered beneath the icy, treacherous Weddell Sea.

  • The ship’s crew of 28 “would have had to draw upon every ounce of strength, tenacity and courage that they possessed in order to survive the failed expedition, which is now remembered in history as one of the most epic feats of endurance in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration,” according to the search expedition, Endurance22.
  • National Geographic will air a documentary about the search and discovery this fall as part of the “Explorer” series.

Dive deeper: Inside the expeditionThe original voyageNational Geographic story (subscription) … Free backstory: Pictures of the expedition.


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