Explorers believe they may have discovered the long-lost second ship from the ill-fated Franklin expedition. The vessel, HMS Terror, vanished nearly 170 years ago with another ship, HMS Erebus, and a crew of 129 men during an Arctic expedition to search for the fabled Northwest Passage to Asia.
The Terror was found "in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay," the British newspaper the Guardian reported Monday in an exclusive coverage.
The wreck was discovered 80 feet underwater in Terror Bay on the coast of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A team from the Arctic Research Foundation found it after receiving a tip from Sammy Kogvik, an Inuk and Canadian Ranger from Gjoa Haven.
RELATED: Relics From Arctic Shipwreck Unveiled
The researchers used a small, remotely operated vehicle through an open hatch to capture amazing images of the vessel's interior.
"We have successfully entered the mess hall, worked our way into a few cabins and found the food storage room with plates and one can on the shelves," Adrian Schimnowski, the foundation's operations director, told the Guardian.
"We spotted two wine bottles, tables and empty shelving. Found a desk with open drawers with something in the back corner of the drawer, " he said.
Parks Canada, the main government partner in the search, said it is currently working to validate the discovery, but Schimnowski is confident that a number of the Terror's features have already been identified.
In 2014 experts confirmed that a well-preserved wreck found in the Queen Maud Gulf, along the central Arctic coastline, was HMS Erebus, the Franklin expedition's flagship.
RELATED: Northwest Passage Now Open to Cruise Ships
The two wrecks lie some 30 miles apart from each other.
The Erebus and Terror sailed out of the Thames bound for the Arctic on May 19, 1845 with a crew of 129 men. At the helms were John Franklin and Francis Crozier respectively. Their mission was to find the fabled Northwest Passage -- the shortcut between Britain and Asia. They vanished in the ice-choked Arctic.
The expedition's loss at sea was one of the most celebrated mysteries of the Victorian era and a puzzle that continued baffle naval historians throughout the 21st century, when Canada launched a multi-million dollar search.
According to a message found in a cairn on King William Island in 1859, the Erebus and Terror became fatally trapped in sea ice. They were abandoned in April 1848, with Crozier in command of "the officers and crews, consisting of 105 souls." The note explained that Franklin had died on June 11, 1847.
RELATED: Cracked Bones Reveal Cannibalism by Doomed Arctic Explorers
It was believed the survivors attempted in vain to march south across the frozen landscape to reach safety. Stories handed down by the Inuit people tell of the seamen's desperate final months, with tales of some even resorting to cannibalism.
The condition and location of the HMS Terror would now suggest a different version of events, with the Terror shut down by the crew who then boarded Erebus and sailed south where they met their tragic fate.
The wreck appears to have sunk "gently to the bottom, " Schimnowski said.
"This vessel looks like it was buttoned down tight for winter and it sank," he said.
"Everything was shut. Even the windows are still intact. If you could lift this boat out of the water, and pump the water out, it would probably float," Schimnowski said.
WATCH: Is Cannibalism A Natural Human Behavior?