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Beyond Titanic: 3 Maritime Disaster Stories


We all know the story of the RMS Titanic.

How could we not? The 1912 loss of the Titanic grabbed the attention of people on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to countless books, an Oscar winning motion picture, and numerous missions to its final resting place in the north Atlantic.

Many maritime disasters have long been forgotten.

Today, 3 of their stories are told.

SS Eastland

This wreck shows us that maritime disasters are not reserved for the high seas. The Eastland developed a list and capsized only 20 feet from the safety of the wharf while docked on the Chicago River on July 24, 1915.

A small list had grown worse as passengers loaded the streamer, with a sudden rush of passengers to the port side causing the vessel to capsize. 844 passengers and 4 crewmembers died in the disaster despite the best efforts of a nearby vessel to rescue them.

The saddest part of this story may be that the ship was filled with employees of Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works that were on their way to a company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. In an era where workers had few rights, the only day off many of these workers ever had turned out to be their last day on earth.

SS Carl D. Bradley

At one time this freighter proudly wore the title of "Queen of the Lakes", belonging to the largest and most productive freighter on the Great Lakes.

Tragically, the Carl D. Bradley sent an entire town into mourning after the events of November 18, 1958. That final voyage ended with the Bradley on the bottom of Lake Michigan, sunk by a severe storm and taking the lives of 33 of 35 crew members.

23 of those crew members were from Rogers City, Michigan, leaving behind many widows and fatherless children.

SS. Daniel J. Morrell

This freighter broke up and sank in a fierce November storm on Lake Huron in 1966, never reaching its destination of Taconite Harbor, Minnesota. The wreck took the lives of 28 of 29 crewman. Dennis Hale, the lone survivor, entered a life raft with nothing more than a life jacket, a pea coat and his underpants. He was miraculously found alive in the life raft after a fridgid 40 hour ordeal that took the lives of his two fellow passengers.


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