Sunken Canadian stern-wheeler is an underwater time capsule

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Underwater archaeologists said Monday that they have found a virtual time capsule of life during Canada's Klondike Gold Rush: a sunken Yukon River stern-wheeler so well-preserved that researchers can document the last minutes of the five-man crew as well as their life aboard the primitive cargo-hauler.

The door of the steam boiler on the A.J. Goddard was open, and slightly charred wood found inside suggested the crew was trying to build up a head of steam, perhaps to break loose from an ice jam.

An ax remained on the deck after one crew member hefted it to chop the rope used to tow a barge, a sign of their frantic attempts to escape the ice floe.

Three men perished in the 1901 sinking, according to news reports at the time, and two were found clinging to the ship's wheelhouse in the icy lake.

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