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A documentary drawn from testimony at the Coast Guard’s official inquiry looks anew at one of the most storied, and mysterious, shipwrecks in American history
In the words of search and rescue personnel, ship designers and inspectors, scientists and naval engineers, former crewmen of the Fitz and the Arthur M. Anderson (the nearby ore carrier that captured the damaged vessel’s last communications), The Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald recreates the doomed ore boat’s final minutes, the suspense of the search and rescue operations, and the drama of the subsequent Coast Guard inquiry. From the Anderson’s captain and first mate we hear reports of the Fitzgerald taking on water in the fierce storm near Michipicoten and Caribou Islands, losing its radar, and stating, finally, famously, “We are holding our own.” We follow the investigation, the speculation, and expert testimony to a problematic conclusion—countered by an alternate theory that the Anderson’s captain maintained to his dying day.
By declaring the Edmund Fitzgerald an official gravesite, Canada closed the wreck to further exploration. But here the exploration continues, providing a unique, and uniquely enlightening, perspective on this unforgettable episode in America’s maritime history.
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Michael Schumacher has written four previous books on Great Lakes shipwrecks: Mighty Fitz, November’s Fury, Torn in Two (all from Minnesota), and Wreck of the Carl D. He has written narratives for twenty-five Great Lakes shipwreck and lighthouse documentary films. He lives in Wisconsin.
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