Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. However, just after 5 pm, Anderson was hit by a giant wave that broke the starboard lifeboat off the ship and into the waters; at the time Captain Cooper reported to have fought with the winds as strong as 70 knots surrounded by the giant waves towering some 20 to 25 feet. On his radar scope, Captain Cooper of the Arthur Anderson watched as the Edmund Fitzgerald passed dangerously close to Six Fathom Shoals, a hazardous shallow area of rocks and reefs. “Yes,” McSorley responded, “both of them.” The Fitzgerald was taking on water.

Then, fifteen minutes later, Cooper received a radio message from McSorley: “ …

Captain Bernie Cooper provided the bulk of first-hand account of the last moments of the Fitzgerald as his ship crew was constantly in contact with the doomed ship through the radio. My relationship with Capt. 2 lifeboat that was recovered after the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. The Fitzgerald had gone down with all 29 of her crew. I played Hearts, talked politics, and soaked up significant quantities of information about Great Lakes weather. The wind strength was also gradually building, with speeds of 50 knots causing the large wave formation reaching the heights of 12 to 16 feet; however, both Captain Cooper and Captain McSorley had previously fought with the giant waves and gusting winds in the past, so they did not think much of it at the time. We had planned for him to visit us in Michigan that summer. But both captains had sailed in similar weather before, and nothing appeared to be amiss. He died in 1993, just one year after the loss of his wife. Here is another shipwreck story from us :200-year-old shipwreck discovered in the Great Lakes. But the Coast Guard called Captain Cooper back at 9:00 pm: “Anderson, this is Group Soo. If he and others went back out on to stormy Lake Superior to look for survivors, their ships, too, would be at great risk and there might be more ships on the bottom. Although the weather was fair, severe storms were moving in, and the two captains decided to take the more protected northern route across Lake Superior to shelter in Whitefish Bay in Canada. With mounting apprehension, Captain Cooper called the Coast Guard once again, about 8:00 pm, and firmly expressed his concern for the welfare of the Fitzgerald. This last communication is shared courtesy of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Point in Paradise, Mi. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. His written report states: “At this time I became very concerned about the Fitzgerald – couldn’t see his lights when we should have. Jim Hettinger is a laker, a Western Michigan University trustee, an economic development professional and the chief executive of Urban(e) Development Services.

Christened the Edmund Fitzgerald, she measured 729 feet and weighed over 13,000 gross tons, making her, for a time, the largest ship on the Great Lakes.

At this point, Cooper radioed McSorley back asking him if his pumps were working to which McSorley replied ‘Yes, both of them’. After confirming with several other ships that no one could establish contact with the Fitzgerald, Cooper notified the Coast Guard. The Great Lakes ship captain is the focal point of the whole operation. Great stuff. “We are holding our own,” McSorley replied. “By the way, Fitzgerald, how are you making out with your problems?” asked Clark (on the Anderson). The ship’s final resting place is 530 feet beneath the surface of Lake Superior, 17 miles off Whitefish Point on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you think you can safely go back up to the area, I would request that you do so.

This was also the conclusion reached by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Discovery Channel did a wonderful show on the Fitz in which it interviewed the late Captain Bernie Cooper, and the Captain (I forget his name) of the Ford, the only other freight ship to leave White Fish Bay to assist in finding survivors of the Fitzgerald. To this day, I can impress people by telling them how much time they have to get off the beach as a storm approaches. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Can you provide me with radar plots till we reach Whitefish Bay?” At around 5:45pm, the Fitzgerald was contacted by another ship in the area, the Avafors, and confirmed: “I have a bad list, lost both radars. The s…

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