In May 1845 HMS Terror and HMS Erebus left England under the command of Sir John Franklin to find the Northwest Passage linking the north Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The ships had been specially equipped for arctic conditions with central heating, auxiliary steam engines and reinforced steel bows to cut through the ice, however, despite these modern additions neither the vessels nor any of the 129 crew members would ever return. Recently the wrecks of the ships have been located in the waters around King William Island, Nunavut, Canada. Numerous theories have been advanced to explain the deaths that involve lead poisoning, scurvy and zinc deficiency. It is most likely, however, that the deaths were the result of multiple factors such as starvation, hypothermia, infection and general physical and mental decline. Cannibalism occurred but whether this involved the use of already dead sailors or the culling of the weak for food is not determinable. The essential point is that the crews were trapped in the Arctic, many thousands of miles from their homes and families, with dwindling food supplies and minimal chances of rescue.