VIDEO: Rare Gold Rush Shipwreck Found

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November 24, 2009—See the only known untouched shipwreck from the Klondike Gold Rush—recently discovered in Canada's Yukon Territory and announced today. The steamboat A. J. Goddard sank in 1901, killing three crew members.

© 2009 National Geographic; video courtesy D.A. Davidge

See photographs of the A.J. Goddard shipwreck >>

Unedited Transcript

Archaeologists in Canadas Yukon have found whats believed to be the only untouched shipwreck from the Klondike Gold Rush, made famous by writers Jack London and Robert Service.

Underwater video, taken with a remote operated vehicle, shows the remarkably intact remains of the A.J. Goddard.

The small iron stern-wheel steamboat sank during an Autumn storm in Lake Laberge in 1901.

Three crew members drowned, while 2 others were saved, found floating and clinging to the ships small pilot house, which broke off when it sank.

The wreck is a time capsule: boots and the jacket of one of the crew lie on the deck, along with a stove, scattered dishes and tools. Just prior to the ship sinking, the crew added more fuel to the fire in a desperate attempt to steam to safety. Today, more than a century later, the boiler door, to the left in the video, still lies open with lightly charred wood in the firebox,.

The Goddard was prefabricated in San Francisco and Seattle, and then hauled over the mountains in Alaska and the Yukon to Lake Bennett, where it was assembled.

The steamer operated on the lake and rivers that led to Dawson City as a passenger and freight boat.

And its discovery also shows that the ship was self-sufficient, replete with a small floating repair shop, and kitchen.

The discovery was made by the Yukon River Survey, a project of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. The surveys latest dive was partially funded by the National Geographic Society/ Waitt Grant program.

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