Thirty eight years ago on this day, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank near Whitefish Point. All 29 members of her crew perished. This is probably one of the more famous maritime disasters on the Great Lakes, mainly because it is one of the more recent major disasters. Also because there is a song written by Gordon Lightfoot about it.
At 15:30 of November 10, Captain McSorley radioed the Anderson that his ship was taking in water and was starting to develop a list. Shortly after 16:10, he radioed the Anderson to report that he lost his radar and would like assistance from the Anderson to guide him to Whitefish Bay. The Anderson was able to guide her through the storm. The last communication from the Fitzgerald came at 17:10 on November 10, when Captain Cooper asked the Fitzgerald how she was doing. The Fitzgerald replied, "We are holding our own." It is believed that she sank shortly after this.
I've posted about the Anderson's story before. I don't really know much about the Ford though but I do know that both of those ships deserve some credit for their brave acts that night.
But out of the tragedy of the Fitzgerald came a number of improvements. There were some changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations that mandated improved survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard and more frequent inspections of ships. I'm not sure what good the survival suits would have been though because I don't know how quickly the Fitzgerald went down but every little bit helps I suppose.
So take a moment to remember the lost crew of the Fitzgerald and also take a moment to remember the two brave Captains that went out to search for her.