'Booty Salvage' company says they've found $350K in gold off Ft. Pierce

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Florida salvage company says they've found about $350,000 worth of gold off the coast of Fort Pierce.
The company, Booty Salvage, based in Central Florida, posted pictures of the gold on their Facebook page. Items include necklaces and gold coins.

Eric Schmitt is part of the Fort Pierce Booty Salvage treasure diving crew.

"It was a lot of emotion.  The first was excitement followed by a lot of almost crying," said Schmitt.

He and his crew found the remnants of a 17th century Spanish ship right off the Florida coast.   They say they've been searching for a find like this.

"It's one of the larger finds that's been made on this coast in a very long time," said Schmitt.

He said the gold was found just 1,000 feet off the coast of Fort Pierce.  The group found 70 to 80 feet of gold chains and four escudo coins that date back to 1700s Peru.

On Monday, the crew found a coin which would even typically be enough to make their entire season.  They estimate the single coin is worth more than $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, the respect for the person who was in the New World and had this made.  It was probably his entire life savings," said Schmitt.

The group says after this lucky weekend, the gold buys them some peace of mind and motivation.

"We're going to keep doing the same things we did, just with a lot bigger smiles," said Schmitt.

Their findings this weekend will be split with their contractor.  Twenty percent will be donated to the state to be displayed.

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