A long-lost shipwreck has been located south of Vancouver Island with an estimated $10 million worth of gold onboard.
And if you’re related to one of the 273 people who died in the 1875 collision and sinking of the side-wheel steamship S.S. Pacific off Cape Flattery, you could be eligible for some of the sunken treasure.
“Different people can come forward and say, ‘I have a claim to this part of the ship’, or this part of the cargo. Here’s why; here’s my evidence,” said Jeff Hummel, director of the Northwest Shipwreck Alliance, who has spent decades searching for the S.S. Pacific.
“That’s the exciting part of the story,” he told CBC. Already four people have gotten in touch with Hummel, including someone from Vancouver Island.
Hummel’s U.S. company Rockfish has been granted salvaging rights for the 19th Century vessel, but he’s not in it for the riches. His goal is to open a museum in Seattle, which tells the story of the S.S. Pacific‘s sinking.
“On the morning of Nov. 4, 1875, the vessel departed Esquimalt in poor weather carrying at least 275 souls, including crew, paying passengers and children. Many of the passengers were gold miners taking their treasure back to San Francisco before the winter set in,” the Times Colonist reports.
“At around 9:30 p.m. the sailing ship Orpheus (travelling from San Francisco to Nanaimo to collect coal) noted the lights of another ship to the right and turned left to avoid a collision. The Pacific struck the side of the Orpheus off of Cape Flattery, and sank within 20 minutes.”
There were only two survivors.
The ship was estimated to be carrying $100,000 worth of gold, which could be equivalent to $10 million in today’s currency.