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Divers recover bell from long-lost British shipwreck

Divers recover bell from long-lost British shipwreck

A team of divers has retrieved the bronze bell from the shipwreck of the HMS Erebus. The British ship was missing for almost 170 years after it sank in the Canadian Arctic.

Parks Canada, who had been searching for the ship since 2008, finally captured sonar images of the shipwreck in the Queen Maud Gulf earlier this year after conducting six searches.

The bell is marked with the symbol of the Royal Navy, a broad arrow embossed with "1845," the year the Franklin Expedition began. More than 100 men, led by British Royal Navy officer John Franklin, had embarked on a mission to find a passage that connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But in 1846, the HMS Erebus, along with the HMS Terror, became trapped in ice, and the mission was never completed.

"Like the chiming of a clock, the bell would have been struck every half hour both day and night to announce the march of time and to signal the changing of the crew's watches," Parks Canada representatives said in a statement. The agency added that the ship's bell is "a symbolic embodiment of the ship itself." The bell will be in conservation for at least 18 months.