The Gales of November

by Dave Weller

On November 10, 1975, the bulk lake freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent storm on Lake Superior. With a length of 729 feet, she was the largest boat on the Great Lakes when built in 1958.

The Fitzgerald left Superior, WI on November 9th with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets. She headed for a steel mill on Zug Island located at the mouth of the Rouge River just south of Detroit, MI. About 17 miles north of Whitefish Point, the captain radioed that they were taking on water. She was listing to port and had two of three ballast pumps working. She had also lost her radar. All 29 officers and crew went down with the ship, which lies broken in two sections in 530 feet of water. There is still controversy as to how the Fitzgerald actually sank.

I’ve seen the Fitzgerald’s two lifeboats and other artifacts aboard the Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

In 1976, Canadian Gordon Lightfoot recorded the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald“, commemorating the events surrounding the sinking of the ship.

Joseph Fulton put together this video tribute to those who died:

YouTube Preview Image