Ancient Shipwreck Rescued on Outer Banks

CURRITUCK, N.C., April 7 (UPI) — The remains of a ship wrecked on the Outer Banks of North Carolina 300 years ago and plundered by local residents has been salvaged from the sand.

Archaeologists said the vessel likely is the H.M.S. Swift of the British Navy, which ran aground in Chesapeake Bay in 1698, The Virginian-Pilot reports. After the crew abandoned the ship, it drifted to the Outer Banks, where the locals, known as bankers, cut a hole in the bottom to keep it in place and then removed everything valuable.

The wreck, one of about 5,000 known on the Outer Banks, could be the oldest of the lot, said Richard Lawrence, head of the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Branch.

Parts of the wreck have been visible at least since the mid-1990s. A storm in November exposed the entire vessel, which then drifted south two miles and back about a mile, shedding pieces as it went.

On Tuesday, a volunteer crew of 25 with the Corolla Fire and Rescue squad supplying high-tech equipment dug the ancient timbers out of the sand and moved it up the beach out of reach of tides and currents.

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