The saga of Ernest Shackleton and how he saved the crew of the polar explorer ship Endurance after it was trapped in ice in the Antarctic has gone down as one of the greatest sea stories of all time. After the 144-foot-long ship sank on Nov. 21, 1915, Shackleton and his 27-man crew spent weeks on the ice, hoping to drift to safety. When they finally realized that wasn’t going to happen, they climbed on three open lifeboats and spent five days, with temperatures reaching 20 below, sailing and rowing before they reached Elephant Island, where at least they were on firm ground. But with no hope of rescue there, Shackleton and five others sailed one of the 22-foot-long open boats two weeks and 720 nm to a settlement on South Georgia island, where there they organized a rescue effort. But it was not until August, 1916, that the last of the crew were picked up from Elephant Island.
There has been no trace of the Endurance since it went down. Now a British-led group of scientists is putting together a team to find it. They will rely on the diary from the navigator, Captain Frank Worsley, who took precise sextant readings even as the Endurance’s hull cracked under pressure from the ice. The new team believes the ship is two miles under the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea, and they think it may be preserved by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
For the first time, the new team will use remotely controlled unmanned submarines to search for the Endurance. They can deploy the subs to search in any direction under the ice. Read more: