Wreck of Columbus's vessel is discovered
A shipwreck found off the coast of Haiti is thought to be the remains of the Santa Maria which brought Christopher Columbus to America 500 years ago, experts believe.
The ship, which is lying off the north coast of Haiti, will now be explored thoroughly by marine investigators.
It is thought likely to be the Santa Maria, the flagship of a fleet of three vessels which sailed under Christopher Columbus from Spain in 1492.
She was abandoned after drifting into a reef on the return journey, and Columbus ordered sailors to build a fort before taking the two remaining ships home to Spain.
The wreck, which lies 10 to 15 feet below the surface, was discovered by marine investigator Barry Clifford in 2003. After a decade of analysis, and the discovery of Columbus's encampment on Haiti, Mr Clifford is now confident that the ship is the Santa Maria.
"I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first-ever detailed marine archeological evidence of Columbus's discovery of America," Mr Clifford said.
"This is the ship that changed the course of human history," he told CNN.
"It is the Mount Everest of shipwrecks for me."
Columbus set sail hoping to find a westward route to China, India and the East, but the first place sailors set eyes on, in October 1492, was the Caribbean and he landed on Haiti soon afterwards. (© Daily Telegraph, London)