Las night as we endured the first snow event of the season and the first stormy night of November, I couldn’t help but think of the 29 souls were lost on board The SS Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975.
“Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Fitzgerald joined a second freighter, SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day, the two ships were caught in a severe storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m., Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian (Ontario) waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, about 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario—a distance Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed. Although Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank; Captain McSorley’s last message to Anderson said, “We are holding our own.” Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered. The exact cause of the sinking remains unknown, though many books, studies, and expeditions have examined it. Fitzgerald may have been swamped, suffered structural failure or topside damage, been shoaled, or suffered from a combination of these. “
July 1994 – MacInnis Expedition
This expedition, called “Great Lakes 94,” was a six-week expedition surveying the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River. It was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Joseph MacInnis. On the expedition with the team was Executive Director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Mr. Tom Farnquist. Mr. Farnquist made observations during the expedition, and claimed to have concluded that it was almost impossible that the ship broke in two on the surface. This theory is in contrast to other divers’ theories, but is no more or less plausible. In addition to these discoveries, more extensive damage than previously reported was discovered, and taconite pellets were also found scattered all over the wrecksite and lake floor.”
Image- Bob Campbell for Edmund Fitzgerald Org