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Sunken Gold Coins To Be Recovered Off Of New England Coast This Summer

(Kitco News) - Another season of shipwreck salvage operations is kicking off with Endurance Exploration Group in the spotlight this year as the company prepares to salvage £10,000 in gold coins from a 154-year old site.

After two years of research, the company announced, in a press release, Tuesday, it is moving forward with its mobilization plans and expects to start salvage operations between July and September.

Photo courtesy of Endurance Exploration Group: Images of 154 year old whiskey bottles in debris field of SS Connaught captured on September 28, 2014.

Since 2013, Endurance has been surveying a wreck off the New England coast, which is believed to be the S.S. Connaugh.  The 380-foot iron-hulled side-wheel steamer sunk in 1862 on its way to Boston from St John’s Newfoundland, the second leg of its journey from Galway, Ireland.

“We expect onsite operations to begin in July of this year, and are looking forward to putting salvaged artifacts on deck,” said Endurance CEO Micah Eldred, in the press release.

What makes the Connaugh an interesting find, is that it believed to have been carrying a shipment of gold coins when it went down. According to Endurance, the coins were “quietly” loaded on to the ship and were, believed, to be delivered to British royalty visiting Boston at the time.

Of course it’s not just its content that makes the S.S. Connaugh unique, as the story of the wreck is “one of the most courageous and daring rescues in maritime history,” the company said.

According to Endurance’s research, the S.S. Connaugh was one of the most luxurious Ocean-lines in its time and sunk after only her second voyage. During a violent story, somewhere between St John’s and Boston, the ship sprung a leak and just as that was brought under control a fire started down below.

“Smoke and flames drove passengers and crew alike to the top deck, building in strength so quickly that none of the gold cargo or valuable passenger belongings could be saved,” the press release said.

The ship’s crew lowered lifeboats in an attempt to abandon the ship, but the boats were destroyed by the waves. However, the crew and more than 400 passengers were rescued in time by a small fruit transport boat.

A line between the two boats was used to transfer all the people from the sinking ship.

“There were soon so many people on the tiny fruit transport that they stood on every available patch of deck, some even clinging to the tall masts and rigging,” the company said. Without a single loss of life, everyone on the Connaugh was rescued and transported safely to Boston.

"Equally important to simply rescuing her valuable gold cargo, we are excited to piece together the final moments of the Steamship S.S. Connaught, and tell her amazing story," said Taylor Zajonc, the company

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By Neils Christensen of Kitco News;
Follow Neils Christensen @neils_C


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