On November 10th of 1975, a cargo ship christened the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, Captained by Ernest McSorley was caught up in a massive storm on Lake Superior. This just happened to be McSorley's and First Mate John McCarthy's retirement voyages.
McSorely was an expirienced ship captain, and had been in many fierce storms, he also had the aid of of a ship called the SS Arthur Anderson, Captained by Jesse Cooper not far behind him. Having lost her radar in the storm, McSorely was relying on Cooper to help him get to Whitefish Bay, which would've provided a respite from the harsh gale. The Fitzgerald had developed a list and was extremely low in the water. Captain Cooper once remarked to his First Mate Morgan Clark that McSorely was far closer to shoals than he'd want the Anderson to be.
At about ten after 7PM, McSorely radioed Cooper who had asked him how he was doing, replying, "We're holding our own".
That was the last thing anyone heard from them. The Fitzgerald quickly disappeared from the Anderson's radar. This seems to indicate that the Fitzgerald went under rapidly.
McSorely had been having trouble with his pumps, and was top heavy. Captain Cooper noted that at one point, a massive rogue wave hit the Anderson, driving her nose under water. But the Anderson seized up and shook it off like a dog. That wave would have most definately headed towards the Fitzgerald.
No one however knows what the actual cause of the sinking was. Did she break in two and sink to the bottom? Did the rogue wave that hit the Anderson drive the Fitzgerald's nose straight for the bottom? Was she overloaded? Was it human error? Did she get too close to the shoals and have a hole torn in her and had been sinking from that point on?
No one will ever know. 29 brave men were lost that night. They rest to this day in an icy, wet grave.