Video: Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting

This annual event at Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors commemorates the sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and the total loss of the 29 crew members aboard 47 years ago on November 10, 1975.

Split Rock Lighthouse Beacon light
The light from the Split Rock Lighthouse beacon in Two Harbors illuminated Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 for the annual commemoration of the sinking of the vessel Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of its 29 crew members.
Contributed: Minnesota Historical Society
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The freighter Edmund Fitzgerald is guided by the tug Vermont through the opening in the Interstate Bridge in the Duluth-Superior Harbor in this undated photo from the 1960s. (News Tribune file photo)
The freighter Edmund Fitzgerald is guided by the tug Vermont through the opening in the Interstate Bridge in the Duluth-Superior Harbor in this undated photo from the 1960s. (News Tribune file photo)
Edmund Fitzgerald
The Edmund Fitzgerald on the St. Mary's River near Sault Ste. Marie, May 1975. (Bob Campbell photo / News Tribune files)
The Edmund Fitzgerald heads out on to Lake Superior through the Duluth Ship Canal in an undated image. (UWS archives / News-Tribune files)

The crew of the Fitzgerald

The crew members of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald when it sank on Nov. 10, 1975:

Capt. Ernest M. McSorley, 63, Toledo, Ohio
John H. McCarthy, 62, Bay Village, Ohio, first mate
James A. Pratt, 44, Lakewood, Ohio, second mate
Michael E. Armagost, 37, Iron River, third mate
George Holl, 60, Cabot, Pa., chief engineer
Edward F. Bindon, 47, Fairport Harbor, Ohio, first assistant engineer
Thomas E. Edwards, 50, Oregon, Ohio, second assistant engineer
Russell G. Haskell, 40, Millbury, Ohio, second assistant engineer
Oliver J. Champeau, 41, Milwaukee, third assistant engineer

Deck personnel
John D. Simmons, 60, Ashland, wheelsman
Eugene W. O’Brien, 50, Toledo, Ohio, wheelsman
John J. Poviach, 59, Bradenton, Fla., wheelsman
Ransom E. Cundy, 53, Superior, watchman
William J. Spengler, 59, Toledo, Ohio, watchman
Karl A. Peckol, 55, Ashtabula, Ohio, watchman
Thomas D. Borgeson, 41, Duluth, maintenance man
Mark A. Thomas, 21, Richmond Heights, Ohio, deckhand
Paul M. Riippa, 22, Ashtabula, Ohio, deckhand
Bruce L. Hudson, 22, North Olmsted, Ohio, deckhand
David E. Weiss, 22, Agoura, Calif., cadet


Galley personnel
Robert C. Rafferty, 62, Toledo, Ohio, steward
Allen G. Kalmon, 43, Washburn, second cook
Frederick J. Beetcher, 56, Superior, porter
Nolan F. Church, 55, Silver Bay, porter

Engine room personnel
Blaine H. Wilhelm, 52, Moquah, oiler
Ralph G. Walton, 56, Freemont, Ohio, oiler
Thomas Bentsen, 23, St. Joseph, Mich., oiler
Joseph W. Mazes, 59, Ashland, special maintenance man
Gordon F. MacLellan, 30, Clearwater, Fla., wiper

Previous Coverage
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald left Superior on Nov. 9, 1975, with a load of taconite, bound for Detroit. It got caught in a massive storm on Lake Superior. Its last radio contact was with the freighter Arthur M. Anderson on the evening of Nov. 10. The Fitzgerald then disappeared from radar near the entrance to Whitefish Bay at the eastern end of the lake.

Dan Williamson joined the Duluth News Tribune in June 2021 where he's involved in digital content such as video, photos and podcasts. Previously, he worked in television broadcasting as a Sports Director/Anchor at WDIO-TV in Duluth, Sports Director/Anchor in Bismarck, N.D., News and Sports Anchor at KSAX-TV in Alexandria, and Reporter/Photographer/Editor with the syndicated show "Life to the Max" in Eden Prairie. He was also the Development Director for the Duluth Salvation Army. Williamson grew up in Alexandria, graduated from St. Cloud State University and has lived in Duluth since 2012.
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