Edmund Fitzgerald 25th Anniversary

November 10, 2000


Provided by: NOAA
Summary author: Jim Foster

Twenty-five years ago today (November 10, 1975), the freighter "Edmund Fitzgerald," loaded with iron ore, sunk during a tempest on Lake Superior. Immortalized in Gordon Lightfoot's ballad "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," (see below) twenty-nine men lost their lives when the "Fitz" went down in huge seas generated by a low pressure system, moving northeastward from the central plains, that rapidly intensified when it reached the Great Lakes. Sustained winds of near 50 mph(80 kmph) and waves of perhaps 30 feet (9 km) proved too much for the good ship and her crew. Mariners who sail the Great Lakes know that in the late fall, storms often intensify without warning - the 1975 storm was one of the worst in the last 100 years.

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too
T'was the witch of November come stealing

They may have split up or they may have capsized;
May have broke deep and took water

And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

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