I dont think the interior has been explored fore the simple fact that the bodies of the 29 men are still somewhere in the ship. I have heard that a body was discovered in the pilothouse while exploring the exterior damage.
No bodies have been idenfied within the wreck. But during the bell raising (and the long exploration that occured at the same time) they did get a look inside the pilothouse and there where reports of what appeared to be the remains of a body (probably those of either, McCarthy, McSorely, Cundy or O'Brien), at the bottom of the captains stairs, but no attempt has been made to get past the pilothouse down into the interior of the ship and there hasn't been any other mention of it. It is my understanding that the families of the lost would rather keep the bodies where they are then bring them up.
At this point entering through the pilot house is the only "easy" way to get into interior of the wreck. The is a stairway down to the Captains cabin, which then opens into passenger accomadation areas and possible dunnage. It is my understanding that exterior doors where dogged from the inside and remain that way today.
Exploring what is left of the stern section is almost impossible with it's present position on the bottom. At the best access to the engine room might be gained but that would be it.
I went and did some digging around. All I could find was my own notes and the sources for where I got those notes seems to have disappeared (or I just didn't see it). Apparently at the bottom of the stairs there is a heap of stuff to include some cloths and coats, a stool and what appeared to be a body probably of one of the 4 men known to be on duty at the time she went down, along with a collection of what are probably the laminated charts and such. The men reported to be on the bridge that night where:
Captain Ernest McSorely, First Mate W. McCarthy, Wheelsman Euguen O'Brien and Watchman Ransom Cundy.
No attempt (to my knowledge) was made to further identify the objects or possible body (or bodies) that lie at the bottom of the stairs, and I could not find whether the door from the stairway to the captains cabin was open, but one would assume no if the stuff collected at the bottom the way I have it in my notes.
Lake Superior being a fresh water lake, and the temperatures at 500 feet down mean that the exterior of the wreck as well as probably the interior are in fairly good condition considering. My question about whether what was reported is real or not, is that it was some 20 years after the fact that his was reported. What condition could the body be in?? Wouldn't the body just turn into bones by now?? There shouldn't be any flesh left that I would think. Unless the water froze them. To me it is horrifying to think that there could actually be a recongizable body down there, something that might resemble a picture of the men that we have seen.
Actually i've heard story that back in the 60s a body of a lumberjack washed up on shore in almost perfect condition except the facial expressions were worn. Think the Fitz is down 500 ft, imagine how cold that water is, I think its enough to keep a body preserved very well.
You are allowed to dive on the wreck but you are not allowed to go in the wreck, My info comes from a diver from that area. People ( including families) are trying to make it an off limits site. So no diving at all.
Of course with the depth it is not in range of most divers, It is definatly a Tri-mix dive and long hours of decompression. Two divers have dove on it and they basicly went down touched the wreck and went back up.
You won't have adipociere inside the Edmund Fitzgerald, since the currents are active and there is too much oxygen in the fresh water. Furthermore, the leaching of minerals from the remains into the great body of water would be pretty rapid. Add the effects of animal scavengers, and the situation doesn't seem right for that type of preservation. I think it can be safely assumed that bones, or bone fragments might remain aboard the ship, and that only because of the extreme cold and darkness. Any bodies inside the ship would be more likely to remain longer, but not 25 years. It would make a heck of a study, inspite of the grisly nature of it.
I can't imagine divers at that depth and that cold, but I know hard suits have been there. Didn't the family of one of here crew have a can of beer left in the wheelhouse for his ghost?
There is currently evidence of a body, which has been identified directly forward of the bow section of the wreck. This was done (Dave Brown can correct me) within the last 5 to 10 years. As to the interior, I don't know that I would want to be the diver going down there.
Cap'n, sir, I cannot correct you because what you have stated matches closely what I recall. The word among the wreck divers around the Lakes is that the body is recognizable...but beware of sea stories told in the vicinity of adult beverages.
The conditions at depth in Lake Superior allegedly preserve bodies. The water pretty cold, so preservation through refrigeration may be at work. Maybe the oxygen level is low. I don't really know. Maybe its just a seagoing urban myth.
Let's not forgot that that is someone's loved one or friend lying at the bottom of the stairs behind the Fitz's pilothouse.
Not being critical, just that for us who did not know a soul aboard a ship like her, things can become cold and impersonal.
Anyway, I wouldn't want to explore inside the Fitzgerald myself. Not only does the wreck belong to the familie's of the crew (and wish that the wreck be left alone), I also am a superstitious type, and don't believe in playing around inside tombs.
I apologize to resurrect this thread after so long, but I've heard it said that the body near the Fitz's bow section has since been revealed to be wearing clothing from the 1870s, and ergo not from the Fitz herself. Rather, the ship came to rest near the body a century later as opposed to floating free of the wreck. David, Erik, has it been verified that it's one of Fitzgerald's crew?