Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lost ship's legend lives on ~ May She and Her Crew always RIP~ ~

Lost ship's legend lives on ~ May She and Her Crew always RIP~
A diver peers into the pilothouse of the Edmund Fitzgerald on a 1995 expedition to retrieve the ship's bell.The vicious, swirling storm that battered the Great Lakes region in late October inspired talk of a similar gale that brought about one of the great mysteries of the 20th century.
Indeed we must never forget ......
The Brave Crew of The Edsmund Fitzgerald
Lost ship's legend lives on
The mighty ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, one of the largest ships on America's inland seas, seemed invincible in its bulk and mass, but it was no match for a howling
Lake Superior gale on November 10, 1975.
A day earlier, the 729-foot behemoth, operated by mineral company Oglebay Norton, had chugged away from port in Superior, Wisconsin, on a course that would take it across the length of Lake Superior, through the Soo Locks and down Lake Huron to Detroit, Michigan, a journey that should have taken about 48 hours.
With the storm bearing down on them the next morning, the Fitzgerald and another freighter, the Arthur M. Anderson, took a northerly route, hoping the Canadian shore would provide a buffer. Icy rain was driven sideways by hurricane-force wind and monstrous 25-foot waves crashed over the main deck, which rode less than 12 feet above the waterline.

Capt. Ernest McSorley, a 37-year veteran on his last sail before retirement, stayed in radio contact with the Anderson and another ship, the Avafors. At 3:30 p.m., he reported his ship had suffered minor damage and was listing, or leaning to one side, in the storm, according to the Coast Guard report on the accident.

Things only got worse as the afternoon dragged on.

"I have a bad list, lost both radars. And am taking heavy seas over the deck," McSorley radioed around 6 p.m. "One of the worst seas I've ever been in."

He tried to make a run for the safety of Whitefish Bay on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But about 7:10 p.m., the ship suddenly disappeared from radar and radio, without a call for help.

The Arthur M. Anderson made it to Whitefish Bay, but Capt. Bernie Cooper and his crew agreed to go back out into the maelstrom to search for survivors, as did the William Clay Ford. The searchers "went out and got the hell beat out of them," one observer said, but all they found were two splintered lifeboats and a single, unoccupied life jacket.

Nearly a week later, a U.S. Coast Guard sonar ship found the Fitzgerald. It had been wrestled to the ice-cold lake bed 530 feet below, its steel hull ripped into pieces, its 26,000 tons of taconite pellets spilled, McSorley and his 28 crewmen entombed forever.

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