Family Finds Gold Off Florida Coast; Legendary Wreck Has Been the Basis for Two Movies
By Staff Writer | September 04, 2013 05:52 PM EDT
Family finds gold worth about $300,000 from a historic wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean. A Florida family that is being described in glowing terms of wholesomeness hit the jackpot over the weekend when they found a trove of sunken Spanish gold along the Treasure Coast of Florida.
The Schmitt family find gold worth about $300,000 after spending the past 13 summers looking for it. Rick and Lisa Schmitt, of Sanford, Florida, and their grown children Hillary and Eric, discovered the gold in the wreckage of a 1715 convoy of 11 ships that were lost during a hurricane when they were traveling from Havana to Spain. The family pulled up gold chains and coins off the coast of Florida. This isn’t the first time people have heard the Schmitt family find gold, in 2002, Eric Schmitt found a silver platter worth about $25,000. He was a sophomore in high school at the time.
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Brent Brisben, whose company 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC bought the rights to the wreck site from the heirs of legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher in 2010, said the ships' manifests say there was about $400 million worth of treasure on board. So far $175 million has been recovered. 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC subcontracts people to search the wrecks. Brisben said the movies “The Deep" from 1977 "Fool's Gold" from 2008 were based on the story of the 1715 wreckage.
Under U.S. and Florida law, the treasure will go to the U.S. District Court in South Florida. The state of Florida will get about 20 percent of treasure, which they will display in a state museum. The rest of it will be split between Brisben's company and the Schmitt family.
Brisben said, "What's really neat about them is they are a family, they spend family time together out there and the most amazing part about them is they always believed this day would come."
Hillary Schmitt, 20, has been diving since she was five, said “My dad wanted to share that experience with us kids. 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.”
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