Forty-four years today, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank to the bottom of Lake Superior, carrying 29 men to their deaths on Nov. 10, 1975.
WHITEFISH POINT, MI – Tonight at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum near the shore of Whitefish Point, a ship’s bell that was long ago pulled from its watery grave deep in Lake Superior will be rung 29 times – once for each man who died on that terrible day when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank beneath the waves on Nov. 10, 1975.
The Mighty Fitz’s bell tolls just one day each year, to mark the captain and crew lost during a monster storm in a maritime disaster that would grow to become a heartbreaking piece of Great Lakes lore. Tonight, a U.S. Coast Guard team from Sault Ste. Marie will be doing the honors during a memorial ceremony at the museum that will be streamed live on Facebook.
It’s recalled, in part, because it’s the most recent disaster on the Great Lakes. But it’s also remembered because recording artist Gordon Lightfoot immortalized it in song.
During the final voyage of “The Fitz,” a storm pushed by massive winds and waves battered the ship until it began taking on water and listing to one side. The ship sank so quickly, the precise reasons why have remained a mystery.
The big freighter was just 17 miles from safety when she sank with all 29 men aboard. At the time, nearby ships were reporting waves approaching 25 feet and hurricane-force winds blowing across Lake Superior.