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Scientists resume search for lost Franklin expedition ships

Franklin Expedition. Illustration from G. Hartwig. The Polar World (first published 1869)

The search for the wreckage of the ill-fated Franklin expedition in Canada's Arctic will resume this weekend.

The HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror were lost after an 1845 expedition led by Sir John Franklin disappeared while attempting to find the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says a group of scientists will spend six weeks conducting underwater searches using high-tech equipment, including military-grade sonar and remotely operated vehicles.

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She says the latest expedition – led by Parks Canada – will be Ottawa's fifth and most comprehensive attempt at finding the vessels.

Other parties involved in the search include the Royal Canadian Navy, the Arctic Research Foundation, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Space Agency and the Nunavut government.

Alongside the search for the ships, scientists will survey Canada's largely uncharted High Arctic waters, Ms. Aglukkaq said.

The team has already mapped 800 square kilometres on past expeditions.

"Being from Nunavut, I am especially excited about this project, as it will collectively increase our understanding of early Arctic exploration and its impact on Canada's development as a nation, while showcasing the beauty and unique culture of the Arctic," Ms. Aglukkaq said in a statement Friday.

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