WATCH: Cincinnati treasure seeker finds $4.5M in sunken loot

Documentary runs 5 p.m. Sunday on 9 On Your Side
Posted at 1:29 PM, Aug 11, 2016

CINCINNATI -- In a story that sounds more Indiana Jones than typical life in the Tri-State, Moeller High School graduate Brent Brisben's taste for adventure led to him the depths of the sea, where he struck gold. 

Brisben's team found $4.5 million in treasure under the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, and he's sharing his story in a documentary film called "The Lost Treasure Fleet" airing at 5 p.m. Sunday on 9 On Your Side. 

Brisben said the gold coins and jewelry they found were recovered the 18th century shipwreck of 11 Spanish galleons carting treasure from South America back to Europe. The ships ran into a hurricane after departing Havana, Cuba, and sunk off the coast of Florida in 1715.

"Gold is such a pure and precious mineral that nothing corrodes it, so it comes out of the ocean looking like the day it was made. So when you see that down there and that sunlight hits it, it's a breathtaking moment," Brisben said.

The documentary explores life for the shipwrecked sailors and comes through to modern times to show how centuries-old wrecks were discovered in late-1950s and 1960s. Brisben estimates that $400 million worth of treasure remains undiscovered on the bottom of the Atlantic. 

Brisben and his father own the company and vessel that they used to find the treasure. He said the state of Florida is entitled to up to 20 percent of the artifacts that they recover, but he and his crew get to keep the rest. He said most of the finds belong to him and his father.