Home' Greymouth Star : August 20th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Spanish galleon wreck yields 350 coins
Florida treasure hunters found
a trove of $4.5 million worth
of Spanish gold coins 300 years
to the day after a fleet of ships
sunk in a hurricane while on the
way from Havana to Spain, the
salvage owner said.
The 350 coins found on July 30
include nine rare pieces, known
as royal eight escudos, which
were being transported to the
king of Spain, according to Brent
Brisben. His company, 1715
Fleet — Q ueens Jewels, owns the
rights to the wreckage.
Only 20 such coins were known
to exist prior to the recovery of
the nine royals, Brisben said.
“The gold looks like it fell into
the water yesterday,” William
Bartlett, 51, the diver who spotted
the haul, said.
Bartlett was part of a three-
man crew aboard Brisben’s boat
Capitana when it found coins in
shallow waters off Vero Beach,
Florida. The search site was
picked because it was close to a
On the same day in 1715, a
hurricane tossed 11 treasure-
laden Spanish galleons on to reefs
off F lorida’s east coast, sinking
them in the early hours the
following morning. Today, the
wreckage is scattered over a wide
The coins found by Bartlett are
part of the now-scattered treasure
transported by the galleons,
which have since broken up.
Bartlett said the crew used the
boat propeller to blow a hole in
the sandy ocean floor to reach
bedrock 2.4m down. The salvage
operation lasted five days.
Like many Florida treasure
hunters, Bartlett, a Pompano
Beach kitchen and bathroom
remodeller, dives as a hobby.
He said he did not hunt
treasure for the money, and
declined to say how much he
would receive under contract
with 1715 Fleet — Q ueens
“ I’m just a guy on a boat living
the dream,” Bartlett said.
Hunters like Bartlett typically
work under contract with the
company, which grants them a
percentage of their find after the
State of Florida exercises its right
to 20% of the haul.
The company acquired legal
custodianship of the sunken fleet
from the heirs of world-renowned
treasure hunter Mel Fisher.
Part of the haul of over 350 gold coins from a sunken Spanish
Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 5
Forest fires raging across the United
States north-west triggered new
evacuation orders for hundreds of
homes as firefighters battled more than
a dozen major blazes across drought-
parched western States, authorities said
The blazes have scorched more than
400,000ha across the arid region,
prompting fire managers to call in help
from the US Army and abroad.
This week, the national year-to-date
tally of area burned passed 2.9 million
hectares. That figure had not been
reached so early in the year for two
In north-central Washington State,
about 200 people were forced from their
residences as a cluster of fires bore down
on the town of Conconully yesterday,
Lorraine Utt said at the county’s
emergency operations centre.
More than 1400 other people were
placed under evacuation orders across
the county, Utt added, but most of them
had since been allowed to return to
To the south, firefighters by late
yesterday managed to dig containment
lines around about half of a scrub fire
burning on the outskirts of Chelan,
Washington, a resort town at the southern
tip of Lake Chelan, fire information
officer Lorena Wisehart said.
conflagration of fires near the rural
community of John Day had destroyed
three dozen homes since the weekend
and threatened many others.
The State’s fire marshal’s office said
high winds posed a challenge as ground
crews fought to keep the 19,500ha fire
away from homes and a critical power
Oregon Governor Kate Brown was
due to tour the area today.
In the mountains of north-central
Idaho, a group of blazes that grew to 260
square kilometres forced evacuations
yesterday from dozens of homes near the
small town of Weippe.
The so-called Clear water Complex
of fires burning in and around the Nez
Perce Indian Reser vation has consumed
50 homes and 80 outbuildings near the
logging town of Kamiah, Idaho, since it
was sparked by lightning last week.
An elderly woman in the area was
killed when she fell and struck her head
while trying to secure her backyard
chickens before fleeing the fire with her
husband, authorities said.
Overnight, flames were advancing
on Kamiah from three sides as another
part of the complex was reaching north
toward Weippe, federal fire information
officer Dixie Dies said.
“This fire is amoebic. It ’s spreading
everywhere,” Dies said. — Reuters
Pair claim Nazi treasure train found
The tale of a legendary Nazi ghost
train carrying gold which allegedly
disappeared without trace in the
dying days of the World War Two
has taken a new twist.
Two men have filed a “finder’s claim”
with a district council in Poland for
an “armoured train” carrying precious
metals, fuelling speculation the
mysterious train has been located.
The claim was filed in the south-
west Polish town of Walbrzych
and could put an end to 70 years of
rumour, myth and fruitless treasure
hunts for the ghost train.
According to local media reports,
two claimants — a Pole and a German
say they have found a 150m long
“armoured train” with gun platforms
and a cargo of “precious metals”.
The claim was lodged because under
Polish law treasure finders can keep
10% of the value of their find.
It is believed that towards the end
of the war, as the Red Army closed in
on the city of Wroclaw, Nazis loaded
a train with gold and other treasure
and sent it south-west.
“ Lawyers, the army, the police and
the fire brigade are dealing with this,”
Marika Tokarska, an official at the
Walbrzych district council, said.
“The area has never been excavated
before and we don’t know what we
might find. ”
According to local legend, the
train vanished after heading into
mountains straddling the current
“In the region we actually have
two gold train stories,” Joanna
Lamparska, a local historian, told
“One is supposed to be under a
mountain and the other somewhere
“But no one has ever seen
documentary evidence confirming
the existence of such trains. ”
Other historians point out that
the Nazis dug miles of tunnels in
the south-west mountains of what
is now Poland in one of the biggest
construction projects in the history of
the Third Reich.
The reason for the tunnels remain
shrouded in mystery, and some
believers in the ghost train argue the
Germans may have excavated secret
railway stashes and hidden the loot in
one of them for safe keeping.
The value of its cargo may also
explain the lack of documentation of
the train as the Germans could have
put secrecy before paper work, they
How the gold came into the Nazis’
possession also remains unclear. It
has been suggested the treasure is
linked to the Nazis’ monumental
wartime looting spree, which stripped
museums and private houses of their
Walbrzych local government has
refused to comment on the matter
other than to ask the claimants to
come for ward and give the location
of the apparent find as it may have
been booby trapped with mines.
Taduesz Slowikowski, a treasure
hunter who has searched for the
missing train, said he was sceptical
that the alleged find in southern
Poland would still contain the
“They may have found the train, but
not the gold,” he told Radio Zet, a
Polish national radio station.
South Africa delays Pistorius release
South Africa has put the release of
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius on hold,
saying a decision to free him this week
after ser ving only 10 months in prison for
killing his girlfriend had been premature.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha said
in a surprise statement overnight the June
decision to allow Pistorius to ser ve out the
remainder of his five-year sentence under
house arrest had “no legal basis” and was
suspended pending a parole board review.
The 28-year-old athlete was convicted
in October of culpable homicide — a
charge equivalent to manslaughter
— over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva
Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013,
but prosecutors have appealed, seeking a
murder conviction instead.
But puzzled legal experts speculated
that Pistorius’s lawyers may go to court
as early as today to have the minister’s
decision set aside.
“What we have here may be a case of
political interference,” Johannesburg-
based lawyer Martin Hood said. — AFP
Britain and France announced new
measures today to prevent undocumented
migrants entering the Channel Tunnel,
while stepping up joint police operations
against the people-smugglers who profit
from their desperation to reach Britain.
Both countries will contribute police
resources to a shared “command and
control” centre in the northern French
port city of Calais, Britain’s Home Office
said in a statement.
The new joint command will “find and
disrupt organised criminals who attempt
to smuggle migrants into northern
France and across the Channel”, it said.
For Britain and France, Calais is the
focus of a wider migration crisis fuelled
by conflict, persecution and poverty that
has sent hundreds of thousands out of
Syria, Libya and other Middle Eastern
and African States.
Tens of thousands of migrants are
arriving in Italy and Greece each week,
while Germany expects the number of
asylum applications to quadruple to a
record 800,000 this year, the government
Thousands of migrants are holed up in
makeshift encampments in Calais, with
many trying each night to jump on to
trucks or trains, or even walk the 50km
undersea tunnel to Britain. Some are
killed in the attempt.
Led by senior French and British
police commanders, the new centre will
report to both interior ministers, Home
Secretary Theresa May and her French
counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve.
New measures include increased
French police numbers and British-
funded fencing, CCTV and other
security equipment to protect the tunnel
entrance in Calais, the Home Office
Operator Eurotunnel will receive
unspecified “support ” to deploy more
security guards at the site, it added.
The growing refugee crisis will
also feature in talks between French
President Francois Hollande and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on
Monday, as southern European States
bearing the brunt of the influx press for
a concerted EU-wide response.
“This is an absolute human tragedy,
with people who are dying and people
who are in terrible situations,” French
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said
France wants to set up processing
centres for speedier treatment of asylum
applications at Europe’s main entry
points and use development policy to
enlist better co-operation from transit
countries, Fabius said. — Reuters
Links Archive August 19th 2015 August 21st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page