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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 12:49 GMT
Warship discovered by diving team
Part of what is believed to be part of the wreckage of the 18th Century warship HMS Wager
The wood will be carbon dated to confirm it is HMS Wager
A team of British explorers claims to have uncovered part of an 18th Century warship that sank off the coast of Chile in South America.

The divers from the Dorset-based Scientific Exploration Society (SES) said they were confident they had found "a significant chunk of HMS Wager".

The ship sank in 1741 during a conflict between Britain and Spain.

Major Chris Holt, who led the 12-strong SES team, said samples would now be carbon dated to verify the find.

I am 99% certain it is Wager
Major Chris Holt

Mr Holt, a former Royal Engineers bomb disposal diver, said: "We will find out the results in about a month.

"It is definitely of the right timber and every other indication is that we have found a significant chunk of HMS Wager.

"If we haven't found HMS Wager then we have found a significant ship wreck that nobody knew was there. But I am 99% certain it is Wager."

HMS Wager had on board John Byron, grandfather of the famous poet Lord Byron, when it struck rocks close to a remote island in Patagonia now named Isla Wager.

Most of crew reached the safety of the island before splitting into two groups and heading in different directions.

The SES said previous attempts to find ship had failed, partly due to its location in such an inhospitable part of the world.




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