The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead…
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
The church bell chimed, ’til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.
Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Today is the 42nd anniversary of the wreck of he Edumund Fitzgerald which sent 29 mariners to a watery grave and was immortalized by Gordon Lightfoot in what was probably the most famous song about a workplace disaster. WXYZ in Detroit notes that “Of the more than 1000 ships in the graves under the icy waters of the Great Lakes, the Edmund Fitzgerald is still the largest to ever go down.”
The 729-foot freighter was caught in storm carrying hurricane-strength winds on Nov. 10, 1975, and sank as it carried a load of iron ore across Lake Superior. (H/T to Thurman Wenzl for the reminder.)
No one has ever figured out exactly what caused the ship to sink. The most reliable theory came from a Coast Guard report: