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Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY:

THE WRECK of the EDMUND FITZGERALD: The legend lives o­n from the Chippewa o­n down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee.This is the 40th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 729 feet-long, 75 feet in breadth, 39 feet in depth, weighing 13,632 gross tons -- an ore bulk carrier with a capacity of 25,000 tons. When it was launched o­n June 7 1958, at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, Fitzgerald was the largest ship o­n the Great Lakes. Here's misty, water-colored video of the launch.

The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sank in the eastern end of Lake Superior during a fierce storm -- including snow squalls -- that pounded the ship with 30-foot waves. The crew of 29 men perished; without witnesses, a definitive reason has never been determined. A Coast Guard report suggested that faulty hatches failed to keep water out of the ship's cargo holds, though others believe the ship struck an uncharted shoal and took o­n water. A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel concluded the loss was due to freak waves that overwhelmed the faulty hatches.

After the wreck, the Rev. Richard Ingalls went to Mariners' Church in Detroit and rang its bell 29 times, o­nce for each life lost. The church continues to hold an annual memorial, which includes reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell. Here's video of Rev. Ingalls recounting that night.  More than 250 people gathered at the church for the 40th anniversary, which was expanded to remember victims from all tragedies on the Great Lakes. And here's a remembrance from a brother one of the lost crew member

At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in 1995, as a joint project with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now o­n display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Here's a brief video from o­ne of the underwater explorations of the wreck. Fmr newsman Larry Elliot recalls the remote expedition.  And here is a story from one of the two scuba divers to ever reach the sunken hull.  Throw in the 3-D animation, and you'll feel just like Bill Paxton.

The song by Gordon Lightfoot spent 21 straight weeks o­n the pop charts, peaking at No. 2. Here, Lightfoot discusses writing the song, and the lyrics he's changed.  And there's a homemade video for it, which I highly recommend. Beats the tar of Celine Dion! (PS:  Ken King -- who has lived o­n the U.P. of  Michigan, says the gales of November are quite something.)

***

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THE ISLAMIC STATE: New evidence in the investigation of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt indicates an inside man may have helped to plant an explosive device on board. U.S. intelligence officials say they are '99.9 percent' certain that a bomb took down Metrojet Flight 9268.

GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPS swim for the first time.

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