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On the evening of November 9, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald departed from Superior, Wisconsin carrying 26,116 long tons of iron ore on board. With the intention of reaching Detroit, the enormous vessel began its familiar course across Lake Superior. It would never reach its destination.

The month of November is known for its powerful storms, especially across the Great Lakes region. On November 10, a strong autumn storm tracked from the central United States through the Great Lakes area. Ship observations on Lake Superior during the storm recorded wind speeds reaching 50 knots and wave heights of almost 20 feet, challenging conditions for even the largest of ships. The crew members of the Edmund Fitzgerald never issued a call for help, leading many to believe that the onset of the storm was sudden and unexpected. Days after this intense storm, the Edmund Fitzgerald was discovered just north of Whitefish Point in southeast Lake Superior, seemingly split in half under hundreds of feet of water. All 29 crew members were lost in what was, at the time, the worst maritime disaster on the Great Lakes in almost a decade. To this day, the Edmund Fitzgerald remains the largest ship to ever go down in the Lakes.

Edmund_Fitzgerald-USACE.jpg
 

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We were out at deer camp. Our radio was our only news source when it went down. Gales of November are a sight to behold.
 

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BAB3874A-CA2B-4105-BC99-5BF96EAF664F.jpeg
This is from my Facebook page, my thoughts on the Fitz. I was 5 at the time but I remember it pretty good....
BAB3874A-CA2B-4105-BC99-5BF96EAF664F.jpeg



If you’re from Michigan, you know today is the day we lost the Fitz back in ‘75. Tons of theories have been presented throughout the years, but I believe the one most likely pointing to structural design flaws and fatigue of the keel & hold areas were to blame. The Fitz’s sister ship was lengthened the same year Fitz went down, only in service for 5 years after then abruptly taken out of service and sitting for years until being sold for scrap.
In listening to Captain Bernie Coopers last interview, he tells of speaking with Capt. McSorley telling him he had a fence down. He says the only way for that fence to come down was if the boat flexed in the wrong direction or too much.
In the pics I’ve attached the first two pics(I realize they are artist’s drawings /paintings) pretty much show the Fitz slowly sinking, the water line is too high on them and they are in peril. It wouldn’t have taken much to send them down. The nightly news pic is pretty much what I remember on TV and the last pic is something I think kind of exaggerated the wave height. Captain Cooper does say his ship was hit by two waves from the stern that were the fiercest waves he took in his career and believed one or both of those waves were the ones that finally unbalanced and sent the Fitz down.
 

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Can't rule out it bottomed out on something uncharted.

Most catastrophies are not due to a single cause but several smaller causes. Spokes on a wheel. You can break one, two, three then the wheel collapses.

The Andrea Gail drove into known bad weather due to a malfunctioning ice machine.
 

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Ever see footage from inside a ship in heavy weather where you can see the thing twisting? Steel doesn't like that.
 

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Bumped an older post with the song and a video. Same song, different video from Decoys post above. I think this video gives a better feel for the storm and the ship.
Located in Sound Off also.

L & O
 

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The Valley Camp museum ship has one of the life boats in its hold. Weird to touch something that was there for the sinking.
 

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Recording of the radio chatter between the US Coast Guard and the Arthur M Anderson which was the closet ship to the stricken ship that night.

 

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The Arthur M. Anderson entered the Poe Lock today, she'll be downbound in Lake Superior tomorrow on the 45th anniversary of her finding the wreckage of the Edmund Fitzgerald.


Virtual service for the Fitzgerald held by the
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
at 7 p.m
 
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