It was a beautiful and unseasonably warm November day. For most of November 10 1975 it was still, calm, a motionless day. Little did the Sault know at the time that a big storm that was making its way into the forecast would turn out to be one of the biggest autumn storms to hit the Great Lakes.
This storm would move northeast and intensify considerably over the next 36 hours as it moved into the Great Lakes region. During that time, the Edmund Fitzgerald and another vessel, the Arthur M. Anderson, departed ports on western Lake Superior to begin their voyages east to the Sault Ste. Marie locks and eventually the lower Great Lakes.
Things were getting quite serious on Lake Superior as the afternoon became evening. Winds in the Sault were picking up and the sky was turning black. Despite that however, the Fitzgerald continued its voyage.
Late in the afternoon, 50-knot winds were blowing across Lake Superior. Wind is measured in knots on the sea, one knot is equal to 1.8 km/h. The Anderson reported receiving hurricane-force winds of 75 knots. At around 3:30 p.m., the captain of the Fitzgerald radioed out to the Anderson and another ship, stating the Fitzgerald had a “bad list,” had lost both radars, and was taking heavy seas over the deck in one of the worst seas he had ever encountered says the nautical website , Boatnerd.com
As the storm became more fierce, the captains of both the Fitzgerald and the Anderson decided to take a more northerly route, a common practice during stormy weather on Lake Superior. The last communication between Captain McSorley of the Fitz to Captain Cooper of the Anderson. Cooper asked how they were doing, McSorley responded, “We are holding our own.” That communication was logged at 7:10pm. Shortly after, it is believed the Fitzgerald was taking in too much water.
29 crew members of the Fitzgerald lost their lives that night.According to research, the ship sank just prior to midnight. News spread quickly to American news agencies the following morning.