Spanish treasure found off Florida

Spanish treasure found off Florida

A gold chain with a crucifix estimated to be worth $250,000 is part of the treasure on the 17th century Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha that was found off Key West, Florida, media reports said Monday.

The gold chain - more than one meter long - is connected to the cross, which is surrounded by Latin inscriptions. A gold religious medallion is also attached to the chain.

A dive team from Key West's Mel Fisher's Treasures found the chain while searching for the Spanish galleon's rear section.

Nuestra Señora de Atocha sank in a hurricane in 1622 while transporting a load of gold and silver to Spain.

Treasure hunter Mel Fisher found the bulk of the galleon's treasure - gold and silver coins, as well as jewelry, worth about $450 million - in 1985.

The descendants of Fisher, who died in 1998 at the age of 76, own the salvage rights and continue to search for the rest of the Atocha's treasure.

"For the 1622 return voyage, Atocha was loaded with a cargo that is, today, almost beyond belief - 24 tonnes of silver bullion in 1,038 ingots, 180,000 pesos of silver coins, 582 copper ingots, 125 gold bars and discs, 350 chests of indigo, 525 bales of tobacco, 20 bronze cannon and 1,200 pounds of worked silverware," the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and Museum says on its website.

Some 400 silver ingots and more than 100,000 coins may still be at the bottom of the sea, the treasure hunter's descendants say.