Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Still Haunts 34 years Later


Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald

Storms Can Be Brutal On Lake Superior

Storms Can Be Brutal On Lake Superior

On This Date in History: On this date in 1975, Gordon Lightfoot got the inspiration for a song and 29 families got news that they never wanted to hear. The Edmund Fitzgerald sunk about 17 miles from Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior.  Here is a history of the Edmund Fitzgerald from the Detroit News and here is the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald from the NOAA office in Marquette MichiganThe ship was a huge iron ore carrier, some 729 feet long.  It was carrying ore when it ran into a big storm in extreme weather conditions. The ship and the one it was traveling with, the Arthur M. Anderson tried to steer for the safety of Whitefish Bay to get out of the 60 mile per hour winds and 10-20 foot waves.  The Fitzgerald lost its radar and the Whitefish Point radio beacon was knocked out. The Anderson was behind the Fitzgerald and maintained contact with the ship.  Fitz captain Ernest McSorely reported in his last message that he had two damanged vents and that the ship was listing. When asked how he was handling his problem, McSorely responded, “we’re holding our own.” Shortly thereafter, the ship vanished from the Anderson’s radar screen. No one knows what happened. The Anderson reached port and was asked to go back out and look for the Fitzgerald.  In a display of great courage, the Anderson went back into the storm to look but found nothing.   This is a fantastic video tribute to the crew of the Edmund FitzgeraldIt has news footage, radio reports from the ships, footage of the Edmund Fitzgerald and photographs of the crew to the music of Gordon Lightfoot.

Route of Anderson and Fitzgerald

Route of Anderson and Fitzgerald

It took some time to locate the wreck but it was found in two pieces in 530 feet of water. On July 4, 1995 the bell was recovered and replaced by a replica with the names of the 29 men who went down with the ship. It is now forbidden to dive on the wreck. The investigation into the incident concluded that the hatches weren’t secured properly and that the ship took on water to the point that when a wave crashed into it, it simply went down. But, skeptics say that there would have been time for a distress call. McSorely had been in contact with the Anderson and never reported any water being taken on, though something caused the list.

fitzwx

Development of Storm that Sunk the Fitzgerald

In the wreck, the chains that made up the deck railing were broken, indicating perhaps that there was tremendous stretching going on. Speculation is that a rogue wave came along….its one that comes out of nowhere and is many times larger than other waves. Either that wave picked up the ship and drove it nose down into the water or, the ship became perched above two wave peaks and the trof in between caused the ship to split in two and sink immediately. Another theory which is accepted by many mariners is that the ship scraped bottom at Caribou Island Shoal and that is why McSorely reported that the ship was listing. The answer will never be known. But, it does show that, even with modern techonology and modern equipment, nature has the final say.

Weather Bottom Line:  After a cloudy Tuesday with perhaps a light, brief shower with the frontal passage, look for plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures through Saturday.  Lows in low to mid 40’s, highs in low to mid 60’s.  Upper 60’s on Saturday.  Sunday, clouds return with the approach of another system.  The outflow from Ida is probably responsible for the suppression of shower activity with the current front moving through the area.

4 Responses

  1. SHINING A LIGHT ON HIDDEN TRUTHS

    In the recent past I do recall that President George Walker Bush spoke of a “THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT” to further the progress of our great country. My interpretation of his intent was that the generation of such light should come from our able citizenry, and mainly through daily contributions in thought, word and deed to our society…and most notably in the form of volunteerism.

    Many of us have responded and experienced success or failure, together with criticism having either justified or unjustified bases. In the latter case, some unwarranted criticism has been based on rumor filling a vacuous state of disinformation and a general lack of appreciation regarding our motivational goals…especially when directed at our volunteer group known as CASUALTY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES (CRA). We are composed of senior citizens and other having comprehensive technical credentials and experience in the maritime field and, as retirees of sound mind, we have freedom of thought and action unrestricted by management constraints affecting income and tenure.

    While one of our initial goals was to develop an objective three-part “cradle-to-the-grave” historical documentary covering the development, construction and operation of S.S. EDMUND FITZGERALD, our investigatory efforts have experienced considerable difficulty for reasons not fully expressed by knowledgeable persons ranging from the shipyard tradesmen to executive and government regulatory levels. (i.e. “Gag” orders prevalent).

    Based on these circumstances our original investigatory scope has been expanded to encompass “We don’t know what we didn’t know” avenues that have led to startling legerdemain discoveries in our self-motivated search for truth.

  2. PRESS RELEASE
    35th Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service
    RIVER ROUGE, MICHIGAN — A memorial service is planned for Wednesday November 10, 2010 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.

    The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.

    The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.

    Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.

    Artifacts and photographs also will be on display.

    At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.

    A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Refreshments will be provided at the end.

    Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips, photos and new information about the ship, at http://www.ssEdmundFitzgerald.com

    Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
    http://www.RiverRougeMuseum.com

    For more information on either event, visit the Web site or call Clark at 1-810-519-2148 or Dolores Swekel at 1-313-842-7822.

  3. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 37 Year Anniversary
    November 10, 2012
    RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Saturday November 10, 2012 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.
    The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.
    The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.
    Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.
    Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members.
    At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.
    A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge.
    Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship.
    Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
    This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada.
    For more information and location call Roscoe Clark at (810) 519-2148.
    This is a special program held each year and is free of charge. All new this year

  4. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 38 Year Anniversary
    November 10, 2013
    RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Sunday November 10, 2013 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.
    The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.
    The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.
    Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.
    Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members.
    At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.
    A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge.
    Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship.
    Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
    This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada.

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