Sea explorers probing the depths of the English Channel have discovered what they say is a legendary British warship that sank in a fierce storm in 1744, losing more than 900 men and possibly four tons of gold coins that could be worth $1 billion.
The team found the wreckage of the warship, the H.M.S. Victory, last year and confirmed its identity through a close examination of 41 bronze cannons visible on the sandy bottom, Gregory P. Stemm, head of the discovery team, said Monday at a news conference in London.
This Victory, known to naval historians as "Balchen's Victory" because she bore the pendant of Admiral Sir John Balchen when she sank, was a 100-gun First Rate ship of the line. Launched in 1737, she was still new at the time of her loss. Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar was named for this ship.
The find is the work of Odyssey Marine Exploration, a business here in Tampa. The site was discovered in May of last year, but confirmation was only given at a press conference last week.
Congratulations to the team on their historic find.