While most industrial accidents can be avoided through the proper use of safety procedures and equipment safeguards, the one that happened 44 years ago today couldn't.
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.
With Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command and carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets, the Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975.
En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan, she joined a second freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day the two ships were caught in the midst of a massive winter storm, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high.
Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at a depth of 530 feet. Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 perished and no bodies were recovered.