Crew Finds Sunken Treasure Off of South Florida Coast

The diving crew found 70-80 feet of gold chains and four Peruvian escuda coins that date back to the 1700s.

A Florida salvage company recently found one of the biggest treasures of gold ever found off the coast of Fort Pierce, Fla. 

"It was a lot of emotion," Eric Schmitt, part of the crew who found the treasure, told WPTV. "The first was excitement followed by a lot of almost… crying."

The Fort Pierce Booty Salvage Treasure Diving crew found $300,000 to $350,000 worth of centuries-old gold about 1,000 feet off the coast of Fort Pierce recently.

The treasure, which includes 70-80 feet of gold chains and four Peruvian escuda coins, is believed to have been left from a 17th century Spanish ship wreck.

"It's one of the larger finds that's been made on this coast in a very long time," Schmitt said.

But for Schmitt, deep sea searching is not only about striking gold.

"It's about the history, it's who wore this. The respect for the person who was in the new world and had this made and it was probably his entire life savings," he said.

Sometime next year, the crew will keep half of their findings and split a percentage with the contractor. They will also donate 20 percent to the state to be displayed in Tallahassee.

"We're going to keep doing the same things we did," Schmitt said. "Just with a lot bigger smile."

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