MIAMI, (Reuters) – A shipwreck found off the north coast of Haiti could be the 500-year-old remains of the Santa Maria, which led Christopher Columbus’ famed voyage to the New World, according to a team of marine explorers.
“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” Massachusetts marine investigator Barry Clifford said in a press release on Tuesday.
“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first-ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America,” he added.
Clifford, 68, who led a reconnaissance expedition to the site last month, will hold a press conference Wednesday morning at the Explorers Club in New York to announce the discovery.
He said he would like the ship to stay in Haiti as part of a permanent exhibition to help the country’s struggling tourism industry.
But a Haitian official reacted with skepticism on Tuesday, saying it was unlikely that anything remains of the wreck.