Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Ship Found: National Geographic Teams With History Hit for Documentary

Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust and National Geographic

The wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s ship “Endurance” has been found 107 years after it sank off the coast of Antarctica and National Geographic has been swift to commission a documentary on the subject that has fascinated the world for over a century.

National Geographic has partnered exclusively with History Hit, the SVOD and content platform co-founded by historian Dan Snow; All3Media’s Little Dot Studios and production company Consequential for a documentary detailing the successful search and discovery of one of the great lost shipwrecks of history — Ernest Shackleton’s “Endurance.”

“Endurance” left South Georgia for Antarctica on Dec. 5, 1914, carrying Shackleton and 27 other men with the goal of reaching the South Pole and crossing the continent via an overland trek. However, nearing Antarctica, the ship became trapped in pack ice and sank in 1915. The crew made it by sea to uninhabited Elephant Island before Shackleton and five men set off in a lifeboat on an epic journey to seek help from a whaling station in South Georgia, more than 800 miles away. After several attempts, Shackleton eventually made it back to Elephant Island to rescue his crew.

Organized by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, the expedition to locate the shipwreck set off from Cape Town on Feb. 5 this year on a voyage to the Weddell Sea, off the coast of Antarctica where the Endurance sank. The expedition was led by polar geographer Dr. John Shears with marine archaeologist Mensun Bound as director of exploration. With them, on board the South African icebreaker Agulhas II, was a crew of scientists and archaeologists alongside a team of highly experienced extreme environment filmmakers, led by Dan Snow for History Hit, who documented the events in real-time leading up to the historic discovery. The wreck was eventually found at a depth of 3008 meters in the Weddell Sea.

Snow said: “This has been the most exciting and challenging experience of my career so far. The team has found not only the world’s most famous shipwreck but also its most inaccessible. After going through storms, blizzards and thick sea ice, we have got some astonishing images of ‘Endurance’ and a laser scan accurate to within centimeters. People thought the story of ‘Endurance’ was over when it sank in November 1915, but it wasn’t. This is the start of a new chapter.”

Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Content, said: “It is our hope — along with our incredible partners on this project — that the blockbuster story behind Shackleton’s Endurance, featuring exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the high-stakes adventure, will inspire the next generation of explorers and adventurers.”

The documentary will premiere this fall as part of National Geographic’s Explorer series on National Geographic Channels and Disney Plus. The documentary, also produced in partnership with ABC News, will be directed by BAFTA-nominated Natalie Hewit (“Antarctica: Ice Station Rescue,” “Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World”).

Debra OConnell, president, networks, Disney media and entertainment distribution, said: “We salute the team at the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, Dr. John Shears, Mensun Bound, and the crew of scientists and archaeologists aboard the South African icebreaker Agulhas II for this incredible discovery and for opening a new chapter in one of the most fabled stories in exploration history.”