What was the real reason the Edmund Fitzgerald sank: The Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy remains one of the more eerie maritime tragedies in history almost three decades after its plunge in to the murky waters of Lake Superior.
On November 9, 1975, the 729 foot cargo ship which was called the “Pure of the American Flag” disappeared together with its 29 crew members on Sunday. But what prompted this mighty vessel to meet its watery demise? Let us plunge in to the turbulent waters of speculation and investigation.
The Edmund Fitzgerald was accustomed to the severe November storms that raged across the Great Lakes, and was well – acquainted with them. She departed Superior, Wisconsin on that fateful day and was piloted by professional mariner Capt Ernest McSorley from Superior. The storm developed into a ferocious beast by evening – one of the more horrific experiences Capt. McSorley had ever experienced. The ship battled heavy seas, lost both radars, and was about fourteen miles from the safe harbor of Whitefish Bay.
The Final Moments
At 7: 10 p.m., Capt. McSorley communicated with the Arthur M. Anderson, sailing approximately 10 miles behind the Fitzgerald. His words were chillingly stoic: “We are holding our own.” The Fitzgerald was the very last time anybody heard from them. By 7: She along with her crew had vanished into the deep around 15 p.m.
The Official Investigation
The crew was blamed by the U.S Coast Guard for not sufficiently securing hatches, and was pointed at by the inquiry. But skepticism lingered. Did a skilled crew truly make such a fatal error? The mystery increased.
The Canadian Divers’ Revelation
Enter Canadian divers Mike Fletcher along with his son Warren. They created a convincing theory after conducting extensive research and simulations based on actual weather and sea conditions. The last blow to an already damaged ship was reportedly dealt by a savage wave, the discovery team stated. The Fitzgerald was brutally hit by this particular particular wave, much like a huge giant. The ship had been overrun by a massive and unexpected attack – the coup de gr’ce.
Capt. Cooper’s Experience
Their theory aligned with what Capt. Jessie “Bernie” Cooper of the Arthur M. Anderson had encountered moments before losing contact with the Fitzgerald. Cooper along with his First Mate felt an unpredicted bump, and the Anderson lurched. After that, a colossal wave poured green water over their whole vessel. The crew had difficulty keeping the ship afloat, however a second wave hit – a constant force of nature. The super waves sped towards the injured Fitzgerald, travelling at a mile per minute. Had the Fitzgerald continued on course, these waves might have struck her only ten minutes later on. (What was the real reason the Edmund Fitzgerald sank?)
The Split in Half
The Edmund Fitzgerald had split in half during dives to look at the wreckage. But what brought about this particular structural failure? Several theories point out she was swamped, grounded on a shoal, or even endured a mix of factors. The U.S. Coast Guard even considered topside damage, perhaps due to a huge floating object like a log. Chaos had been even more exacerbated by historian Mark Thompson who thinks that something broke loose from the deck of the ship.
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The Unsolved Enigma
Even with all the investigation, theories, and expeditions, the precise cause of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking continues to be unknown. Some even entertain wild notions concerning UFOs or perhaps a Bermuda Triangle – like occurrence in the Great Lakes. But perhaps the truth lies in the relentless fury of that storm, the rogue wave which struck with merciless precision, and the terrible loss of 29 lives. (What was the real reason the Edmund Fitzgerald sank?)
The Edmund Fitzgerald is a moving reminder of the incomprehensible strength of nature and the enigmas that lie beneath our enormous lakes, as Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad echos throughout the waves.