Planes leave for Spain, hauling shipwrecked silver

MITCH STACY Associated Press Published:

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Two military planes carrying 17 tons of silver coins recovered from a Spanish ship sunk in 1804 have taken off from Florida. The treasure is being flown back to Spain after a nearly five-year legal struggle with the U.S.-based explorers who found and recovered the silver.

The planes that took off just after noon on Friday were packed with more than 594,000 coins and other artifacts. Odyssey Marine Exploration, which is based in Tampa, Fla., brought the coins to the U.S. in May 2007.

The deep-sea explorers found and recovered the treasure from a Spanish galleon sunk by British warships as it traveled back to Spain from South America in 1804.