Edmund Fitzgerald exploration

Apr 27, 2005
316
0
86
That reference to the beer came from, I believe, one of the National Geographic stories on the wreck. I may have gleaned it from another reference but, I'm pretty sure is was the N.G.
Amazing, how a masterful folksinger has lured so many people to know and feel "for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald". Except for the paralyzing fear of what might be coming, one can only hope that the actual deaths were fast and painless.
 
W

Wayne Keen

Guest
If she dove into a wave and didn't recover, I have often wondered what that was like for the men in the wheel house. Did they suddenly see a wall of water, and then nothing?

Wayne
 
Apr 27, 2005
316
0
86
If she dove into a wave, my guess would be that the windows shattered and they were inundated with freezing water. The force could easily render them unconscious or insensible. I have always theorized that the hatch lids failed, inviting in thousands of tons of water, which, along with the taconite load, over stressed her hull. When she encountered her next heavy bow wave, her hull fractured and she folded up like a man's wallet. The shifting weight and open access to the lake water took her straight down, causing her wheelhouse windows to blow outward. The location of the two sections bear out that scenario. Other people may have a better perspective on what happened, but I can picture that scenario in my mind's eye.
 
W

Wayne Keen

Guest
"The force could easily render them unconscious or insensible."

Such is my hope, that there was too little time for even an "oh gosh" - much less be sensible as the bow drove under the waves on the way to the bottom.

Wayne
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
146
One example of a body being preserved for decades is that of Mabel Smith Douglass, the feminist and subject of the book "The Lady of the Lake".

She disappeared in Lake Placid in 1933 and her body was found in the 1960's. Excuse the gruesome details - but the body was so well-preserved that the divers who stumbled onto it thought it must have been a recent drowning. But when they raised it, the head disintegrated, though quick action salvaged the jawbone. The rest of the corpse was recovered and, I assume, given a proper burial.

It's tentatively believed she committed suicide as she had a history of depression and a family history of depression and suicide.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
I as well as the NTSB and just about any master who has sailed straight deckers on the lakes can attest, the hatch cover theory as put forth by the Coast Guard following the accident is nothing but incompetent investigation. There is no way in hell that the hatch covers could have allowed that much water in, over that period of time, without something catastrophic happening far before the time the ship went down.

Those who have moved or assisted in the loading or unloading of cargo and moving of hatches as well as clamping them down (in the way the Fitz did) can attest that the hatch itself can weigh up to 2 tons. I am not sure what the weight of the Fitz hatch's were, but I guarantee you that the only way for a fatal dose of water could have entered the hold is if it was completely off.

A more feasible reason for possible water entry is the loss of vent covers, which we know occurred. McSorely told Cooper that he had lost at least one vent cover, and was taking water and sitting lower in the water. Water leaking from a hatch cover would have filtered down, while water from a missing vent cover would have gone straight to the bottom.

There is evidence on the wreck today as well as evidence given by the Coast Guard 30 years ago that suggest she was not a stable ship.

Her problems where far more numerous then just one solitary problem, as in any sinking the reason for demise is not one sole event but a series of events.

Her sinking has been and continues to be investigated by organizations both governmental and private.
 
Apr 27, 2005
316
0
86
Thanks, Erik! Assuming the vent covers are the source of the flooding, would the rest of the theory about her folding up on her keel be probable?
 
W

Wayne Keen

Guest
Cooper always seemed highly dubious of the improper closure theory....

Wayne
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
I had met Captain Cooper before his death, he was not alone in his opinion of the hatch cover theory. There was quite an out cry when the Coast Guard came to that conclusion.

The fold up theory is possible, but the evidence on the bottom would suggest the opposite. The added weight was around the center of the ship and as the ship's bow came up on the crest of the wave she could have folded up. In my opinion that is a valid theory one that to my knowledge has not been explored in depth.

I would tend to believe that the bottom gave out and it folded down, meaning the bow and stern snapped while the middle was in open or close to open air.

Perhaps more work is needed on the up theory, or more accurately I could be misunderstanding what you are saying.
 
Apr 27, 2005
316
0
86
Erik, perhaps my "wallet" theory was clearly expressed. My thought would be that the hull and keel failed, bringing the pilot house and engine section up towards each other, in a "V" formation. The hull twisted apart in the plunge. Very quick, very lethal.A sketch could easily be rendered, but whether it would be accurate, well, that's another thing.
 
W

Wayne Keen

Guest
Richard,

I have seen animations of that sort of event, usually with the ship spanning across two waves, and breaking in the middle.

This sort of failure is not, I gather, an uncommon failure, even in ships that do not have pre-existing damage.

Wayne
 
W

Wayne Keen

Guest
I know I have seen some hay made of the fact that the Fitz was progressively allowed to take on more cargo, and sit lower in the water than when she was new.

Wayne
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
I think I know of the animation that Wayne is talking about it has been around the web for sometime.

Come October some more information should be released concerning the hull condition on the bottom. I think it is safe to say that it was either the "V" type theory that Richard is suggesting or the an upside down "V" as others have suggested.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
NOAA has published some more information on the weather conditions when the Fitz went down. There will also be some information regarding the wreck to come out soon.

Go to www.noaa.gov for more info.
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
I've read a few books about the Fitz recently and it has got me thinking. The location of the wreckage, how it is arranged and somewhat close together, seems to me (and this is a theory only) that she must have gone down generally intact. I would think that with the power of the waves that night, if there was a break up on the surface, the two sections of the wreck would lie further apart due to the currents taking one half of the ship a ways from the other. I believe the Carl Bradley is know to have split apart on the surface due to the survival of two crew members. I also have seen a picture of the wheelhouse of the Bradley wreck. If that ship lies further apart on the ocean floor than the Fitz does, would such strengthen the intact vs surface break up of the ship? Then there is the case of the Daniel J Morrell and survivors from that wreck have a chilling tale of how the ship broke in two and later the bow and stern collided after breaking up. Again, any information of the wreck of this ship? One could go a lot of directions with such though, just wondered if anyone else has thought about such and would care to chat about it more? Thanks.
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
Well with a little research, I see I've confounded my theory a bit. While both parts of the Bradley wreck are pretty close together, I've found the Morrell wreck pieces to be quite far apart. That answers that question but raises others and adds to the Fitz sinking scenario. Can't say any of this is boring!
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
0
166
TOM: There is a wonderful special on the FITZ which appears regularly on the History Channel's "Dive Detectives". I believe they theorized the Fitz broke apart at the surface...keel first...owing to a rouge wave.
It was intersting to watch the retrieval of the ship's bell, via a "JIMSUIT" diver. However it almost resulted in a fatal accident for the diver.

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
0
166
POSTSCRIPT: I agree, nothing here that we discuss is boring...the more we learn about a particular shipwreck...the more we yearn to know.
BTW, have you ever seen any wreck images of the "Mighty" H.M.S. Hood? Incredible!

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
Nice to hear from you Micheal. I think I did see that show a few times now, I think it is called Deep Sea Detectives. They basically narrowed it down to two scenarios. I saw the "JIMSUIT" diver piece, it was interesting technology at work, the suit, the procedure and when the bell came loose after his efforts with the cutting torch it just missed hitting him. I was just thinking about the Fitz wreck site as a whole, just the way the wreckage is laid out, that maybe like a plane crash, one could look at how the pieces are arranged and come up with some theory about the manner in which they got there. The poor HMS Hood, sad to see the last survivor pass just a short time ago. I had read that dives to the wreck where showing the massive damage done to the ship, it sounded pretty bad, but also interesting. Last I heard the USS Indianapolis has basically not been found, minus some debris, despite earlier claims. Back to the Big Fitz though, I believe the same two guys who did/do Deep Sea Detectives have written a new book on Titanic, I've got it downstairs, I must get my library of such topics nearer to my computer for better referencing. Their work is helping to support new theories on how the ship broke up. In a flat calm, there is quite a large array of pieces of the Titanic. Of course she is much deeper than the Fitz, but I'm coming from the same train of thought, where the Fitz's remains are, how they are shaped etc; couldn't that be reconstructed in reverse? I think I'm with Captain Cooper on the whole matter, that the ship nose dived and broke up while doing so, but that's just my thoughts for now.
 
J

Jeff Brebner

Guest
"BTW have you ever seen any wreck images of the "Mighty" H.M.S. Hood? Incredible!"

I have the book "Hood" and "Bismarck": The Deep-sea Discovery of an Epic Battle by David Mearns and Rob White, which contains a bunch of pictures. It really brings home the magnitude of the forces that destroyed her.