August 4, 2005

CORRECTED – U.S. researcher in mission for Atlantis

(Corrects name of country in 11th paragraph to read "...
Portugal's Azores" instead of "... Spain's Azores").

NICOSIA (Reuters) - An American researcher on the trail of
long-lost Atlantis said on Thursday he will lead an expedition
next year to prove the mythological civilisation lies in the
watery deep between Cyprus and Syria.

Robert Sarmast believes Atlantis did exist and that his
quest is not a wild goose chase inspired by the ramblings of an
ancient Greek philosopher thousands of years ago.

"All the evidence points here. This is where civilisation
started," he said in Cyprus. Sarmast lives in Los Angeles.

Plato suggested that the civilisation of Atlantis was
destroyed in a deluge around 11,500 years ago. The
Mediterranean island of Cyprus is its pinnacle, says Sarmast.

Sarmast, an architect, says he has found evidence
suggesting man-made structures on an initial expedition some 80
km (50 miles) off the south-east coast of Cyprus in November

The outlines of what he says is a long wall which forms a
right angle were detected by sonars, scanners which use sound
pulses to map the sea bed.

He plans to return to the site for a closer look by May,
2006 with remote operated vehicles which will attempt to blast
away sediment on a selected site lying 1.5 km below sea level.

"There is not one scientist in the world who can explain
these formations as natural ones," said Sarmast, who said he
had clinched a contract with a Hollywood production house to
produce a two hour documentary next year.

According to Plato, Atlantis was an island where an
advanced civilisation developed some 11,500 years ago. Some
also believe it to be Garden of Eden, where mankind fell from
God's Grace.

Theories abound to why it disappeared, from Atlantis being
hit by a cataclysmic natural disaster -- an event which is
accounted in many of the world's varied ancient civilisations,
to being destroyed by the wrath of Zeus because it became too

It is invariably placed in the Atlantic Ocean, the Greek
island of Santorini, Portugal's Azores and even farther afield
in the South China Sea.

But the skeptics suggest Atlantis never existed anywhere
but in Plato's long decayed brain.