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Spain's greatest Naval enigma: Ghostly galleon in 'The Goonies' found
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 @ 5:46 PM

A SPANISH shipwreck which inspired a blockbuster Steven Spielberg film has been found off the coast of the USA – a whole 329 years after it sank without trace, believed destroyed by fire in the ocean wilderness thousands of kilometres from civilisation.

This pirate boat scene from The Goonies shows what the Santo Cristo de Burgos might have looked like (photo: IMDb/Warner Bros)

The Santo Cristo de Burgos vanished in 1693 close to Astoria, Oregon, although the part of the world where it met its fate was not known about until less than 40 years ago.

After the approximate location of where the earth swallowed the galleon up was worked out, the tale of its sticky ending would go on to become the cult movie The Goonies, directed by Richard Donner, in 1985.

Anyone who saw this box-office hit will remember that it told of the adventures of a group of kids from Astoria seeking a sunken pirate ship loaded with treasure off their nearest beach.

In real life, neither the galleon nor the haul of gold and jewels on board were ever found – until earlier this week, according to a report in National Geographic.


Risky rescue

Remains of the boat turned up in a sea cave near Manzanita, Oregon, and were recovered in a highly-delicate, hazardous and emergency operation involving archaeologists, police, and search and rescue teams from various local and State organisms.

Marine archaeologist James Delgado, left, and beachcomber Craig Andes, right, with one of the earlier pieces of timber from the Santo Cristo de Burgos that washed up on the shores of Manzanita, Oregon (photo: Katie Frankowicz for Oregon Public Broadcasting -

Washington State Department of Transport archaeologist and chairman of the Marina Archaeological Society (MAS), Scott Williams, said he was 'impressed and relieved' after the successful recovery of the Santo Cristo de Burgos – some 15 years after his team started hunting for it.

About a dozen wooden beams from the galleon, which was on its way from The Philippines to México when it vanished off the face of the earth, are among the parts found in the underwater caves.


Early international trade in colonial times

At the time of its sinking, both these countries were Spanish colonies, and the ship was loaded up with a valuable cargo of Chinese silk, porcelain, and blocks of beeswax for making candles.



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