Thursday, November 10, 2011

36 years ago today, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.

Gordon Lightfoot - Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 8, 1958, she was the largest boat on the Great Lakes, and remains the largest boat to have sunk there. Nicknamed the "Mighty Fitz" or "Big Fitz", the ship suffered a series of mishaps during her launch: it took three attempts to break the champagne bottle used to christen her and she collided with a pier when she entered the water.

For seventeen years the Fitzgerald carried taconite from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo and other ports. With Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command and carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets, the Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan, she joined a second freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day the two ships were caught in the midst of a massive winter storm, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at a depth of 530 feet. Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 perished and no bodies were recovered.

Many theories, books, studies and expeditions have examined the cause of the sinking. Fitzgerald may have fallen victim to the high waves of the storm, suffered structural failure, been swamped with water entering through her cargo hatches or deck, experienced topside damage or shoaled in a shallow part of Lake Superior. Investigations into the sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels. The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best-known disasters in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

No comments:

Post a Comment