The wreck of Ernest Shackleton's Endurance, one of the most famous sunken ships in history, has been found in the icy sea off the coast of Antarctica more than a century after it sank.

It was found at a depth of 3,008 meters (9,869 feet), six kilometers from where it was crushed by pack ice in 1915.

The legend says that Shackleton and his 27 companions went down in legend through an epic escape.

"We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance," said Mensun Bound, the expedition's director of exploration.

This is the best wooden wreck I have ever seen. It is in a brilliant state of preservation and upright. He said in a statement that you can see it arcs across the stern.

Esther Horvath is a Trustee of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.

The expedition left Cape Town on February 5 with a South African icebreaker, hoping to find the Endurance before the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer.

The crew of Endurance was supposed to make the first land crossing of Antarctica as part of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition.

The sailship fell victim to the sea.

The timber vessel became trapped in pack ice east of the Larsen ice shelves in January 1915.

It sank 10 months later.

Worst sea in world

The crew camped on the sea ice and then took to the water.

The men were dropped off on Elephant Island and set up a camp.

After using a sextant for navigation, Shackleton took five others in the strongest and most seaworthy boat on a 1,300-kilometer voyage to South Georgia, a British colony where there was a whaling station.

A bow. The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust is a non profit organization.

The 17-day trek aboard the 6.9-metre (22.4-foot) open boat is often considered one of the most remarkable achievements in maritime history.

The expedition members all survived.

The current-day explorers used underwater drones to find and film a sunken ship. Its swirling current sustains a mass of thick sea ice that can be difficult to break.

The site of the sinking was described by Shackleton as the worst part of the sea.

One of the most difficult parts of the ocean is the region.

This has been the most complex project ever undertaken by the mission.

Like the Titanic

The images produced by the underwater drones were stunningly clear.

After more than a century underwater, the helm is still intact, with gear piled against the taffrail as if the crew had just left it.

The ship's wheel is on the well deck. The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust is a non profit organization.

The timbers of the ship still hold together despite being damaged from the crush of ice that sank in. A mast snapped into two across the deck, and portholes showed what secrets may still be inside.

Sea anemones, sponges and other small ocean life forms made their homes on the wreck, but did not appear to have been damaged.

Adrian Glover, a deep-sea biologist at Britain's Natural History Museum, said it was remarkable to see the pictures of that ship on the sea floor.

He told Agence France-Presse that it was not a good place to be as Shackleton and others found out.

South Africa's environment ministry stated that an earlier mission failed to find the Endurance.

The wreck is protected under international law. Explorers were allowed to film and scans the ship, but not to touch it, meaning no artifacts may be returned to the surface.

The team used underwater search drones called Sabertooths built by Saab, which dove beneath the ice into the farthest depths of the Weddell Sea.

Climate change was researched by scientists during the mission.

She said that she was returning with 630 ice and snow samples.

The team must return to Cape Town in 11 days.

Agence France-Presse