July 26, 1845: Two whaling ships sight Franklin's ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror as they sail toward the Northwest Passage.
Winter of 1845-46: The expedition winters at Beechey Island. The graves of three crew members who died that winter are discovered by a search party in 1850.
1846-47: The expedition gets trapped in sea ice.
1847-48: The ice doesn't melt enough to free the ships in the summer, forcing what was left of Franklin's crew to spend another winter locked in.
Spring of 1848: With provisions running low, some crew members set out on foot in search of food and possible rescue.
– Inuit oral tradition places one of the shipwrecks to the south of King William Island.
HMS Investigator sinks in 1852 while searching in vain for the Franklin Expedition. Parks Canada discovers the shipwreck in 2010.
The lost crew members are driven to desperation and ultimately resort to cannibalism. Archaeological evidence – graves, cairns and encampments – is found along the west coast of King William Island. In all, 129 men die.
– An exhausting search In April, 1968, Canadian Geographic reports that "49 books and articles published during the last 140 years give two dozen different figures for the number of search expeditions that participated in the search for Franklin." They range from 17 to more than 70, the article says, and are classified as "20 search expeditions, 11 supply expeditions, and one relief expedition (a total of 32) were directly involved in the Arctic search, and four bi-purpose expeditions contributed in some way, making a total of 36."
– Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014: A remotely operated underwater vehicle, part of Victoria Strait Expedition, finds one of the two ill-fated Franklin Expedition ships – HMS Erebus or HMS Terror. The exact location has not been disclosed; however, the Victoria Strait Expedition had previously announce its search area.
– 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition: CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, HMCS Kingston, research vessel Martin Bergmann, the expedition cruise ship One Ocean Voyager, Park Canada's 10-metre aluminum survey vessel Investigator, as well as a number of smaller vessels.
– Saab Seaeye Falcon remotely operated vehicle (ROV): Parks Canada's new ROV, which inspects any targets that are identified by a sonar survey, played a key role in finding the ship. The Falcon is depth rated to 300 metres and is operated from the surface by a cable.
Other technology used in the search – Two Klein 3000 towed side scan sonars – Park Canada's new Iver3 autonomous underwater vehicle