22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage

22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage

Jacob Miller - July 4, 2017

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank, during a storm, in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes.

The SS Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from the mines near Duluth, Minnesota to the ironworks in Detroit, Toledo, and to other ports as well.

On November 9, with Captain Ernest M. McSorley was in command, and fully loaded with iron ore, she embarked from Superior, Wisconsin towards a steel mill near Detroit. The next day the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was caught in a tempest. The storm boasted hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet high. Shortly after 7:10 P.M, the ship sank to the bottom of Lake Superior 530 feet deep. She was only 17 miles from Whitefish Bay.

Her crew of 29 sailors did not survive. No bodies were recovered.

A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft equipped to detect magnetic anomalies (usually meant to detect submarines) found the wreck on November 14, 1975.

From May 20-28, 1976, the U.S. Navy dove the wreck using the unmanned submersible, CURV-III. They found the Edmund Fitzgerald lying in two large pieces. In 1980, Jean-Michael Cousteau (son of Jacques Cousteau), sent two divers from their ship, the RV Calypso, in the first manned submersible dive.

In 1989, the Michigan Sea Grant Program organized a three-day dive to survey the Fitzgerald. The primary objective was to record a 3D videotape for use in museums, educational programs, and promotional videos.

In 1994, diver Fred Shannon and organized a privately funded dive. Shannon’s dive group discovered the remains of a crew member still wearing his life vest.

On July 4th, 1995, a dive team recovered the SS Edmund Fitzgerald’s bell after 20 years of being at the bottom of Lake Superior.

22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edmund Fitzgerald was built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge and launched in 1958. Great Lakes Maritime Institute
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The new Edmund Fitzgerald about to be entered into the water, June 7, 1958. imgur
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The largest and longest vessel ever built on the Great Lakes, the 729-foot ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald, slides into the launching basin, on June 7, 1958, in Detroit, Michigan. Two more months of interior work remain, before the $8,000,000 ship is put into service. Her capacity will be 26,000 tons and her speed up to 16 miles per hour. AP
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The deck and cockpit of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Great Lakes Maritime Institute
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edmund Fitzgerald docked. MLive
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edmund Fitzgerald in comparison to two other ships on Lake Superior. Pinterest
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The iron ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank to the bottom of Lake Superior during a hurricane-like storm on the night of Nov. 10, 1975. Great Lakes Maritime Institute
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The U.S. Navy remotely operated vehicle CURV-III was brought in to survey the Edmund Fitzgerald wreckage in spring 1976. Fred Stonehouse, U.S. Coast Guard
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Father Theodore J. Brodeur sprinkles holy water on the research submarine Delta Monday, July 25, 1994, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the day before a series of dives on the Edmund Fitzgerald. AP Photo
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Researches prepare to embark in the research submarine Celia on the first dive of the day Monday, July 4, 1994, to explore the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Mich. AP
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
This photograph shows the Edmund Fitzgerald’s pilot house. The ship’s final resting place is 530 feet beneath the surface of Lake Superior, 17 miles off Whitefish Point on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Image of the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck taken during a dive in 1995 to recover the ship’s bell. The ship sank in a storm off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Image of the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edlund FItzgerald crows nest. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Diver Bruce Fuoco making the final cutting of the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck original bell stanchions (called a belfry) on July 4, 1995. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
FILE 1975- Coast Guard officers on a Board of Inquiry inspected life rings that were recovered from the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in stormy weather in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. AP
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edmund Fitzgerald’s recovered lifeboat after its recovery in 1975. Sault Historic Sites, Museum Ship Valley Camp
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The No. 2 lifeboat recovered after the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking. U.S. Coast Guard
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
The Edmund Fitzgerald sounding board spilt in two and covered in oil. It was part of the limited amount of debris found after the sinking. U.S. Coast Guard
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
Life vests recovered after the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking. U.S. Coast Guard
22 Photographs Cataloging the Edmund Fitzgerald Disaster and the Dives to Rediscover the Wreckage
On July 4, 1995, the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald was recovered after 20 years on the bottom. Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

 

Sources For Further Reading:

Mental Floss – 12 Doomed Facts About the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald

The Gazette – Edmund Fitzgerald — The Ill-Fated Ship Bore Name of Insurance Company President

Awesome Mitten – Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Michigan Sea Grant – The Storm That Sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Washington Post – How the Edmund Fitzgerald Went Down, Down, Down

Chicago Tribune – Plundering the Edmund Fitzgerald

UPI – Divers Find Corpse at Fitzgerald Wreck

Cult of Weird – Edmund Fitzgerald Bodies: The Shipwreck That Never Gave Up Its Dead

University of Wisconsin-Madison – The sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald – November 10, 1975

M Live – Diver Recalls Record Scuba Descent to Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck

History Collection – Shipwrecked: 7 Losses at Sea that Changed the Course of History

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