A replica of the Santa Maria, the flagship of the Italian explorer’s 1492 expedition

A US underwater investigator has said he believes he has found the wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus’s famed expedition.

Barry Clifford said evidence “strongly suggests” a ruin off Haiti’s north coast is the Santa Maria.

Mr Clifford’s team has measured and taken photos of the wreck.

He says he is working with the Haitian government to protect the site for a more detailed investigation.

The Santa Maria, along with the La Nina and La Pinta, were part of Columbus’s expedition in 1492, which explored islands in the Caribbean in an attempt to find a westward passage to Asia.

The flagship was lost during the expedition, shortly before Columbus returned to Spain.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’s famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said Mr Clifford.

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