A Florida family just couldn't believe when Lady Luck smiled her big smile on them on Sept 1 when they discovered a trove of gold that could be worth more than $300,000 in a sunken ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The loot, which was found just 150 yard offshore and in only 15 feet deep of water, yielded a 63-foot gold chain, a gold ring, and five gold coins. They all came from 11 Spanish ships that sank in a 1715 hurricane on Florida's "Treasure Coast."
"It was a lot of emotion," Eric Schmitt, a treasure hunter and founder of Booty Salvage Inc., told WPTV. "At first was excitement followed by a lot of, almost crying. It's amazing."
The Schmitts' family will get to keep 80 per cent of the loot while remaining 20 per cent will be given to the state of Florida to put in display in museums. The Schmitts' family will share their loot with 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC, the company that holds salvage rights where Booty Salvage Inc found the treasure.
"To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years, is indescribable," Brent Brisben, 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC co-founder, told the Sentinel. "They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It's truly remarkable to be able to bring that back."
"This is like the end of a dream," Mr Schmitt told the Orlando Sentinel.
The ships in 1715 were believed to be carrying $400 million worth of treasure when they encountered a hurricane that unfortunately drove it deep into the ocean.
The latest discovery is the family's biggest so far.
"My dad wanted to share that experience with us kids," 20-year old Hillary said was quoted by Scripps TV Station as saying. "We love doing it. It's a family effort. ... Not only are we doing something that's really fun, we get to do it as a family. It's a pretty awesome experience."
"We do not make our living doing this. This is a hobby because, up to this point, we've never found anything like this," she added.
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