12 November 1998

Search for pirate treasure approved at Robinson Crusoe Island

                  SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- A U.S. expedition to search for 18th century
                  pirate treasure on Robinson Crusoe island has been approved by Chilean

                  Island Mayor Leopoldo Gonzalez said Thursday the unidentified expedition
                  found the site where the treasure of English pirate Frances Drake is believed
                  to be located using data from satellites.

                  "It has been believed for years that pirate Drake buried here valuable
                  bounties he robbed from Chilean cities and from Spanish vessels," Gonzalez
                  said by telephone.

                  The site is about 6 miles from the island's only populated village.

                  The government's National Monuments Commission confirmed Thursday the
                  authorization was given for "scientific and archaeological diggings aimed at
                  finding the exact place were a valuable shipment was buried in the 18th

                  Chilean scientists were assigned to follow the expedition because the
                  three-island area, 500 miles west of continental Chile, is a national park, the
                  commission said.

                  If treasure is found, the Chilean state would keep 75 percent and the
                  remaining 25 percent would go to the expedition, the commission said.

                  Copyright 1998   The Associated Press.