This day in Sault History

Fitzgerald's Final Storm

November 10, 1975 will always be remembered for the tragic loss of lives aboard the Edmund Fitzgerlad.

The freighter was making it’s way  from Superior Wisconsin to Detroit.

The first alarm was at 3 in the afternoon. A radio message from the ship’s captain, Ernest McSorely to the S.S. Arthur Anderson,  : “Anderson, this is the Fitzgerald. I have a fence rail down, two vents lost or damaged, and a list. I’m checking down. Will you stay by me till I get to Whitefish?”

A 3D model of the Fitzgerald created for the 40th anniversary last year by Derek Pearce of Project Sault Ste. Marie
A 3D model of the Fitzgerald created for the 40th anniversary last year by Derek Pearce of Project Sault Ste. Marie

The last contact was made at 7:10pm “we’re holding our own”  five minutes later the Anderson lost contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald. A fierce autumn storm, one of the worst ever recorded on the Great Lakes produced sank what was once the biggest ship on the Great Lakes . Winds were clocked at near hurricane strength in the early evening and waves reached over 35 feet. A second call to the Fitzgerald at 7:25pm went unanswered.  The Anderson found life boats and other wreckage but no sign of survivors. The ship sank off Whitefish bay in Canadian waters of Lake Superior, just one hour from Sault Ste. Marie.

The ship was named after the CEO of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Fitzgerald died in 1985.

Last year, Derel Pearce of Project Sault Ste. Marie created a 3D model for download, commemorating  the 40th anniversary of the sinking. “The model we made, last year we live tweeted the final voyage on our twitter and put up a memorial page on our website. In addition, we also created a 3d model of the Fitz that people can download and use In SimCity4.” Pearce said.

The entire crew of 29 perished in the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Captain Ernest M. McSorley
Michael E. Armagost
Fred J. Beetcher
Thomas D. Bentsen
Edward F. Bindon
Thomas D. Borgeson
Oliver J. Champeau
Nolan S. Church
Ransom E. Cundy
Thomas E. Edwards
Russell G. Haskell
George J. Holl
Bruce L. Hudson
Allen G. Kalmon
Gorden Maclellan
Joseph Mazes
John H. McCarthy
Eugene O’Brien
Karl A. Peckol
John J. Poviach
James A. Pratt
Robert C. Rafferty
Paul M. Rippa
John D. Simmons
William J. Spengler
Mark A. Thomas
Ralph G. Walton
David E. Weiss
Blaine H. Wilhelm


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