Remains of Spanish treasure galleon found off Indian River County

By Lamaur Stancil

It’s taken almost four centuries for someone to find the shipwrecked remains of a Spanish treasure galleon, and it’s just east of Indian River County.

Orlando-based treasure hunter Tom Gidus said he’s been examining the debris from the ship, which is more than 14 miles east of the barrier islands. Indialantic shipwreck historian Robert Marx said he reviewed pieces Gidus found and concluded they are from the ship known as the Espiritu Santo el Mayor, a 480-ton galleon that sank in a storm in 1626.

“A bronze cannon was found a number of years back and that is what led us to the area,” Gidus said.

Retrieving the pieces of the wreckage has become a long-term project, Gidus said. He’s dived and removed just a handful of loose pieces from the wreckage for identification purposes.

Much of the rest is partially or fully submerged under the sand of the ocean basin, he said. His crew will use either an airlift or underwater handheld blowers to retrieve the ship’s belongings.


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