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Edmund Fitzgerald Sank 40 Years Ago Today

Forty years ago, November 10, 1975, the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a ferocious storm on Lake Superior. The great ship sank. All 29 crew members died.

The shipwreck was soon to be made famous in the haunting song by Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, which was released the year after the sinking.

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.”

The Edmund Fitzgerald, was loaded with about 26,000 tons of ore pellets on Nov. 9, 1975, at Superior, Wis., and was bound for Detroit.

Storms on the Great Lakes can be hurricane-like in their intensity. The one that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald had sustained winds of 67 mph, gusts of up to 86 mph and waves up to 35 feet.

The ship sank in 530 feet of water about 17 miles from Whitefish Bay, near the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.”

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