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A modern sailboat passes by a replica of the Pinta on March 2 in Fernandina Beach, Fla. / Bruce Lipsky, AP

An explorer said he may have found Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria ship off the waters of Haiti.

The Santa Maria ran aground in 1492, just months after Columbus landed. But what happened to the other two ships Columbus sailed to the New World, the Niña and the Pinta?

Little is known about either ship. The Niña made a trading voyage to Venezuela's Pearl Coast in 1501, according to the Columbus Foundation website, an organization in the British Virgin Islands that has replicas of Columbus' ships. This was the ship's last known trip, the group's website says. The foundation also noted the Niña was in Santa Domingo in 1500.

The Niña's original name was Santa Clara, and it was Columbus' favorite of the three, logging at least 25,000 miles under Columbus' command, according to the foundation's website.

Far less is known about the Pinta.

"We don't have documentation of the Pinta's post-Columbus career," said Shelley Reid, spokeswoman for the National Maritime Historical Society, in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.

As for the Santa Maria, maritime historian Lincoln Paine said verifying that the remains belong to a particular ship takes "tremendous technical research."

"I don't think there are a lot of tangible remains that would've survived 500-plus years," Paine told USA TODAY Network.

Paine said it seems to be a "very, very long shot" the remains are indeed Columbus' ship.

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Whereabouts of Niña and Pinta remain a mystery

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