Sunday 18 March 2018

Golf-course dead to be located using scanners

EXPERTS will use sophisticated scanners in a bid to locate the bodies of some of the 250 sailors who perished in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

The HMS Saldanha went down off Lough Swilly in December 1811 and experts believe the bodies of some of those who drowned are buried beneath the 18th hole of Portsalon Golf Club, Co Donegal.

Both the ship's captain and his parrot survived the incident -- although local folklore reports that Captain William Pakenham later died from poitin poisoning, given to him by locals.

His parrot, which had a silver collar inscribed with the words, "Captain Pakenham -- Saldanha', was shot a week later by a gamekeeper.

A massive stone close to the 18th fairway remembers those who died.

With the disaster's 200th anniversary coming up on December 4, historians are to use X-ray scanners to locate the bodies. They do not plan to excavate the site -- preferring to leave the bodies undisturbed.

Anne Cadwallader, a member of the organising committee of the Saldanha Commemoration, said Portsalon Golf Club has been very accommodating.

"We believe, as do many others, that bodies are buried on the 18th fairway. Over the years many bones have been found," she said.

As well as the physical finds, there have been many unexplained happenings over the years with reports of ghostly sailors walking the coastal roads close to the scene of the tragedy.

Irish Independent

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