FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A salvage crew that specializes in hunting for sunken treasure hit a golden jackpot during the Labor Day weekend. They were exploring off the coast of Florida when they made the eye-opening find. Meghan McRoberts has the story.
The sound of success isn't nearly as sweet as feeling it right in your hand.
"It was a lot of emotion. Um, you know, the first was excitement, followed by a lot of, just, you know, almost crying," said Eric Schmitt who is part of the Fort Pierce Booty Salvage Treasure Diving Crew. "There's Spanish treasure right off their coastline."
That search is for 17th century treasures left from a Spanish shipwreck on the treasure coast. This weekend, they found more gold than ever in their decades of searching the sea floor.
"It's one of the larger finds that has been made on this coast in a very long time," Schmitt said.
They crew found $300,000 to $350,000 worth of centuries-old gold found just 1,000 feet off the coast of Fort Pierce, 70 to 80 feet of gold chains, and four escudo coins that date back to the 1700s from Peru.
The crew also found a coin, which would even typically be enough to make their entire season. This one alone is worth $30,000.
But for Schmitt, the deep-sea search isn't only about striking it rich.
"It's about the history, it's who wore this,” Schmitt said “You know, the respect for the person who was in the New World and had this made. And this was probably his entire life savings."
He says after this lucky weekend, the gold sure does buy them some peace of mind and motivation.
"You know, we're going to keep doing the same thing we did, but you know, with a lot bigger smile," Schmitt said.
-- By Meghan McRoberts, NBC News