Sunday, September 30, 2018

This treasure hunter found three tons of sunken gold — and can’t leave jail until he reveals where it is

For nearly two years, despite threats and fines and the best exertions of a federal judge, no one has managed to make Thompson reveal what he did with the treasure



This 1989 file photo shows gold bars and coins from the S.S. Central America, a mail steamship, which sunk in a hurricane in 1857, off the North Carolina coast.
The wreck of the S.S. Central America waited 130 years for Thompson to come along. The steamer went down in a hurricane in 1857, taking 425 souls and at least three tons of California gold to the sea floor off South Carolina.Many tried to find it, but none succeeded until a young, shipwreck-obsessed engineer from Columbus, Ohio, built an underwater robot called “Nemo” to pinpoint the Central America, then dive 8,000 feet under the sea and surface with the loot.
“A man as personable as he was brilliant, Thompson recruited more than 160 investors to fund his expedition,” Columbus Monthly noted in a profile. He “spent years studying the ship’s fateful voyage . . . and developing the technology to plunge deeper in the ocean than anyone had before to retrieve its treasure.”
Thompson’s crew pulled up rare 19th-century coins, the ship’s bell and “gold bars . . . 15 times bigger than the largest California gold bar previously known to exist,” the Chicago Tribune reported in 1989.

And 95 percent of the wreck site was still unexplored – potentially worth $400 million in gold alone, The Washington Post reported a year later. “The treasure trove is the richest in American history and the deepwater salvage effort the most ambitious ever undertaken anywhere.”

More at: https://nationalpost.com/news/world/this-treasure-hunter-found-three-tons-of-sunken-gold-and-cant-leave-jail-until-he-reveals-where-it-is

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