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<v Mike Simonson>Coast Guard reports from satellite photos show Lake Superior, Huron, and Erie completely <v Mike Simonson>frozen over and Lakes Michigan and Ontario, about 50 percent ice covered. <v Mike Simonson>And that's the first time that's happened in 15 years and the earliest these freshwater <v Mike Simonson>bodies have been ice locked in recent memory. <v Mike Simonson>It's making the winter of 94 a banner year for that strange and hardy group of ice <v Mike Simonson>anglers dressed in plaid shirts and wool pants and hats with ear flaps. <v Mike Simonson>Skip Smith and two of his buddies drilled holes and set down line seven <v Mike Simonson>miles offshore of Cornucopia this past weekend on Lake Superior. <v Mike Simonson>He says it's always a thrill and sometimes it's even dangerous. <v Skip Smith>If ice does shift and that opens up a crack between you and shore - that's what <v Skip Smith>most often happens. People don't fall through the ice. <v Skip Smith>You know, the ice moves. And now you got one hundred yards or two blocks of open water <v Skip Smith>to get through. <v Speaker>[Engine revving] <v Mike Simonson>Walking seven miles across the moonscape-like ice isn't practical for Smith and
<v Mike Simonson>his friends, so they use a propeller driven wind sled on skis, a jarring <v Mike Simonson>ride dodging ice ridges and ruptured ice shards sticking out of this frozen lake. <v Skip Smith>Pretty rough stuff right here. <v Skip Smith>It's getting better because there's snow on it and that pushes it a little bit. <v Mike Simonson>Smith hasn't seen ice like this since the 1970s. <v Skip Smith>The thicker ice and the safer ice means we can get to more places. <v Skip Smith>Other years, this is the first year really out of the last three or four that we can even <v Skip Smith>go fishing on the Cornucopia. <v Skip Smith>This ice isn't very safe here because there's big water just on the outside. <v Skip Smith>There's no islands to hold it in. <v Skip Smith>So we can go to spots that we haven't been able to ice fish for five years maybe. <v Mike Simonson>While the fishing is good for Skip Smith, this freeze up sends shivers down <v Mike Simonson>the spines of port directors like Davis Helberg in Duluth. <v Mike Simonson>He remembers the disastrous beginning of the 1972 shipping season, <v Mike Simonson>a year that also saw widespread freezing. <v Davis Helberg>It gathered ice in huge rafts run on top <v Davis Helberg>of the other, just outside of the Superior end of the loose harbor entries.
<v Davis Helberg>The ice builds up to such an extent that in early June <v Davis Helberg>we had ships stuck every imaginable which way, just outside of our <v Davis Helberg>entries, immobilized. <v Mike Simonson>But Helberg says ice is a fact of life here. <v Davis Helberg>I don't know, a month from now if we're gonna be seeing bluebirds or polar bears. <v Davis Helberg>Uh, weather changes. <v Mike Simonson>While the Coast Guard's been sending out cutters to free ships on other Great Lakes, Lake <v Mike Simonson>Superior won't see shipping at least until March 25th. <v Mike Simonson>The official start of a shipping season delay this year could mean shortages in iron <v Mike Simonson>ore for steel plants, grain for flour mills and coal for utilities across the <v Mike Simonson>country. So the job of breaking this ice will fall on Coast Guard, warned Officer <v Mike Simonson>Steve Serena Shoulders. He and his crew of 50 on the cutter Sundew in Duluth <v Mike Simonson>have their work cut out for them, so to speak. <v Mike Simonson>But Serena doesn't mind the extra duty that breaking this ice pack will require, he <v Mike Simonson>says. Icebreaking is an art. <v Steve Shoulders>Course, the backing and ramming, that's that takes a while. <v Steve Shoulders>There's some other little things that make it go easier, what we call sallying the
<v Steve Shoulders>rudder. What we do is we shift the rudder from one side to the other, left to right. <v Steve Shoulders>That's what that does - it gets the ship to rockin'. And so that it kind of it- and when <v Steve Shoulders>it hits the ice, it gives a little more force from side to side to help keeping us from <v Steve Shoulders>getting stuck and helps break through the ice a lot easier. <v Mike Simonson>While Serena doesn't have to clear any paths for ships this time of year, he does have to <v Mike Simonson>worry about folks like Skip Smith who might get stranded on an ice pack that <v Mike Simonson>breaks up without warning. <v Steve Shoulders>The only safe ice is the ice you put in your glass pot. <v Steve Shoulders>So I'm not one for wanderin' around on the ice. <v Steve Shoulders>I think runnin' around on the lake out there this year. <v Steve Shoulders>You have to be careful because you never know exactly where the thin stuff is going to <v Steve Shoulders>come in. <v Mike Simonson>Still, ice anglers will continue to go out, especially with this rare total freeze <v Mike Simonson>up of Lake Superior. It's a chance to brave the elements, catch lake crowd and <v Mike Simonson>get away from it all. Far enough away that they can be grumpy old men if they want. <v Ice Angler>Do we look like three grumpy old men? <v Ice Angler>[Laughs] [?inaudible?]
<v Speaker>Right now, the spear is stuck. <v Speaker>It's just a matter of getting out to get to it. Hopefully we won't get stuck too. <v Speaker>[?inaudible?] [overlapping chatter] <v Speaker>[Boat horn blares] <v Mike Simonson>The ice is heavy this spring and this day a brisk nor'easter is blowing <v Mike Simonson>more of the ice against the western end of the lake. <v Mike Simonson>That's why the thousand footer Edgar B Spears trapped in ice 17 miles <v Mike Simonson>out. Chief Warrant Officer Steve Serena has been breaking ice for seven years, part of it <v Mike Simonson>on board the Sundew. He says they got the call for assistance about five hours <v Mike Simonson>after the spear left the Duluth Superior Harbor.
<v Steve Shoulders>Just before 9 we got a call from him saying that they were stuck out here about a mile <v Steve Shoulders>from the from the water. <v Steve Shoulders>We're not exactly sure what happened. <v Steve Shoulders>Once we get out there, we'll be able to see a little bit better. <v Steve Shoulders>Why did they? They got out of the track. <v Steve Shoulders>It closed on him from the wind because we got a pretty strong northeast wind blowing <v Steve Shoulders>right now with this storm coming so. <v Steve Shoulders>Well, once we get out there, we'll see what happens. <v Mike Simonson>Their job now will be to cut ice for 17 miles to reach the spear. <v Mike Simonson>The ice is about two feet thick this day. <v Mike Simonson>Once they reach the ship, Serena says they'll cut a track around the starboard side of <v Mike Simonson>the spear. <v Steve Shoulders>We go through and break it up and chop it up, which was what we call turning the big <v Steve Shoulders>chunks in a little chunks. We kind of go through here, make a snow cone out of it, a <v Steve Shoulders>slushy, and softens it up and allows us to run through it without any problem. <v Steve Shoulders>That's why we're making good time. If we have to get out when we go to start going around <v Steve Shoulders>the sphere, we're going to have the back and RAM a few times. <v Mike Simonson>It's ironic that this ice can get tougher as warmer weather settles in, the warmer <v Mike Simonson>weather breaks up the ice. And then the worst fears, a strong northeast wind that <v Mike Simonson>can not only blow the ice in against the harbor entries, but it can pile at 10 to 15
<v Mike Simonson>feet high. Sundew officer Lieutenant Corey Reynolds says that's what's already happening <v Mike Simonson>in parts of Lake Superior. <v Corey Reynolds>At this rate, if the weather keeps this up and ice starts driftin' and we kill a lot of <v Corey Reynolds>drfits like that, and the Sundew would have a heck of a time really maintaining <v Corey Reynolds>Lake Superior at the western end of Lake Superior. <v Mike Simonson>That's why ice can be a problem as late as June on heavy ice years for the Sundew. <v Mike Simonson>Now, just a few miles from the spear, the Sundew radios the vessel for status reports. <v Radio Operator>We are now there. <v Radio Operator>[?inaudible?] <v Mike Simonson>Reynolds says conditions on eastern Lake Superior are even worse, keeping the much larger <v Mike Simonson>cutter Mackinaw pretty busy. <v Corey Reynolds>Ice has kind of brought them to their knees. <v Corey Reynolds>It's about four foot or six foot ridges and two to four foot
<v Corey Reynolds>lake ice and it's really slowin' him down. <v Corey Reynolds>I guess they've had to back and ram several times. <v Mike Simonson>Less than a mile from the spear now and Sundew Commander John DeYoung orders his <v Mike Simonson>crew to stations. It's time to cut a relief path several yards from the spear <v Mike Simonson>and then lead the ship to open water. <v John DeYoung>Up alongside the spear we're going to be going out on the bridge wing. <v John DeYoung>I don't want a guy talking on the bridge so he can hear the [?inaudible?] officer. <v Mike Simonson>This day, it was like cutting through a frozen margarita, not too hard, but very chunky, <v Mike Simonson>says Officer Serena. Spears' next challenge will be in heavier ice near <v Mike Simonson>Whitefish Bay and the Soo Locks with a spear will need an escort from the Mackinaw. <v Speaker>This is why most of them go. You just come up alongside, get them a little relief and <v Speaker>they go. Now, we're lucky on this one that he- that this pier was able
<v Speaker>to run on their own. They'll get out to the ice edge and just keep on going. <v Mike Simonson>Ice is a way of life for Great Lakes navigators. <v Mike Simonson>This won't be the last thousand foot carrier the crew of the Sundew will be freeing from <v Mike Simonson>the ice. On Lake Superior nboard the Coast Guard cutter Sundew, Mike <v Mike Simonson>Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio. <v Mike Simonson>It was a different time, a time of backyard bomb shelters, McCarthyism <v Mike Simonson>was still a recent memory. The Cold War was raging. <v Mike Simonson>It was during that time around 1960 that a secret grenade project by Honeywell <v Mike Simonson>in the Twin Cities was going on. <v Mike Simonson>As with most projects, some parts were rejects. <v Mike Simonson>So the Department of Defense ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to dump those rejects <v Mike Simonson>and cement filled drums under armed guard into Lake Superior. <v Mike Simonson>It was a different time environmentally, too, when out-of-sight was out of mind. <v Mike Simonson>Today, rumors of hazardous materials in those barrels make this a Superfund hotspot. <v Mike Simonson>So the Army Corps has hired the Navy to recover those same barrels.
<v Mike Simonson>The Corps insists the barrels contain only cement and scrap metal. <v Mike Simonson>But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency isn't satisfied, and neither are <v Mike Simonson>environmentalists like Alden Lind of Save Lake Superior Association. <v Mike Simonson>Lind says this is a strange story. <v Alden Lind>It does seem to me that if these materials were as benign as they say they were, I can't <v Alden Lind>imagine why they would have needed all that care and their disposition <v Alden Lind>that makes you suspicious. I mean, somehow all this doesn't really add up. <v Alden Lind>And so you sit there, you ponder it and wonder about whether <v Alden Lind>this is sort of Pentagon foolishness or <v Alden Lind>whether there's something more to it than that. <v Speaker>Lind says the only way the general public will believe the scrap metal and cement story <v Speaker>is if the Corps recovers 15 percent of the barrels from each of the seven dump sites. <v Mike Simonson>Because I don't think there's any question but that the reports all <v Mike Simonson>indicate that there was a variety of materials tossed into those <v Mike Simonson>Merrills. Those are reports from from Honeywell employees.
<v Mike Simonson>Lind would like to see about 200 barrels raised. <v Mike Simonson>The Corps will be happy with recovering a dozen. <v Mike Simonson>That's where Navy Chief Ward Officer Greg Updegraff comes in. <v Mike Simonson>It's a sunny Friday morning when his crew heads out on the barge Marcus to try and <v Mike Simonson>recover their first barrel. <v Greg Updegraff>Our intent is not to get in the water until we have somethin' in sight. <v Greg Updegraff>And once we have it on on the camera on the ROV. <v Greg Updegraff>Set the camera right there. <v Greg Updegraff>Send a diver down. Flash up the barrels and <v Greg Updegraff>bring 'em on up. <v Mike Simonson>Updegraff says deeper dumpsites will be left to their remote sub that they call Fatman, <v Mike Simonson>the ROV is. <v Greg Updegraff>His design will go down. <v Greg Updegraff>We're located. They bring it back up and hook it up to this <v Greg Updegraff>car. It's a big barrel block. <v Greg Updegraff>It's 9:20 when the remote operated sub is pulled onboard <v Greg Updegraff>for the first time in the morning and for the first time in the morning, a setback with a <v Greg Updegraff>pressure seal that has cracked.
<v Greg Updegraff>They're going to try to replace it now. <v Greg Updegraff>Hopefully the second one will hold up. <v Speaker>I've never had that many sonar failures in one day in my life. <v Speaker>Just not a good day, and nobody can understand why. I can't understand why either. <v Mike Simonson>Forty five minutes later, equipped with a new sonar camera module, Fat <v Mike Simonson>Man is hoisted back into Lake Superior and with it the possibility of success <v Mike Simonson>or failure of any deep water recovery of barrels. <v Bob Dempsey>Right after mile here we've got a group of about six. <v Bob Dempsey>They're spaced at about thirty feet and they're sitting on the bottom pretty flat. <v Mike Simonson>That's Army Corps project director Bob Dempsey looking at Fat Man's camera focused on a <v Mike Simonson>set of barrels in one hundred fifty five feet of water. <v Mike Simonson>Now it's the divers turn. <v Mike Simonson>They dive in teams of two and keep in constant radio contact following Fat Man's tether <v Mike Simonson>to the barrels. <v Speaker>[Radio chatter]
<v Mike Simonson>And then success. <v Mike Simonson>As workers topside begin really in their first barrel, to the Corps, is Dempsey <v Mike Simonson>so far so good. <v Bob Dempsey>Nothin' on the Geiger counters, No, no interesting colored fluid running out of it, <v Bob Dempsey>anything. Just an old rusty barrel. <v Mike Simonson>The question now for environmentalist Alden Lind and for pollution control agencies' <v Mike Simonson>Bob Cross is does this answer the question of the other fourteen hundred plus <v Mike Simonson>barrels? <v Bob Cross>We had already checked it for- with <v Bob Cross>our meters, for volatiles and anything that would be coming <v Bob Cross>off in air from chemicals inside it. <v Bob Cross>We checked it for radiation. Uh, with one small hole in <v Bob Cross>it confirmed that it was already the, uh, more parts, <v Bob Cross>so we didn't feel it's a problem. <v Mike Simonson>Unlike three decades ago, Cross says it would be against the law for the government <v Mike Simonson>to order dumping in our Great Lakes. <v Bob Cross>Something that they did years ago, nobody thought anything of it. <v Bob Cross>Bad practice. But anyway, whether you dump it in lakes or dump it on the ground, it's
<v Bob Cross>still just as much of a problem. <v Mike Simonson>For Lind, those barrels or a lesson that we can learn from for the next generation's <v Mike Simonson>sake. <v Alden Lind>Talk about our national debt being left to our grandchildren. <v Alden Lind>Think about the the debt that was even left to this <v Alden Lind>generation in the Superfund sites. <v Alden Lind>I mean, that was a debt that was left to us. <v Mike Simonson>In Superior, Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio. <v Mike Simonson>Today's question is define and photograph the barge, not bay, an all too common <v Mike Simonson>casualty of fire in 1905 of Stockton Islands, Julian Bay. <v Mike Simonson>The days of fire boilers on wooden ships. <v Mike Simonson>John Jensen pilots the Boston Whaler, Orian, with its state historical <v Mike Simonson>society diving crew four. <v John Jensen>We're in 13 feet of water right now. <v Mike Simonson>This team's objective is to check for looting and damage by nature. <v Mike Simonson>Underwater
<v Mike Simonson>archaeologist Dave Cooper leads this expedition in the Apostle Islands as he does much <v Mike Simonson>of the summer in both of Wisconsin's Great Lakes. <v Dave Cooper>Robin Harrigan jumping in video and photography. <v Dave Cooper>Um, you guys just snorkel. <v Dave Cooper>You guys who were interested in doing is just seeing if there's any new sections that <v Dave Cooper>have scoured out, getting a kind of an overall sense of what's been in-filled <v Dave Cooper>with sand. Rob, if you can get that as much as possible with aerials. <v Mike Simonson>Cooper's goal is to monitor these wrecks and map out a course to preserve the evidence <v Mike Simonson>of a rougher day on Lake Superior. <v Dave Cooper>We're trying to document what may be progressive ice damage to the wheel. <v Dave Cooper>That was possibly anchor damage as well from sailboats. <v Dave Cooper>It's not certain. And any other evidence of anchor damage you might see in terms of fresh <v Dave Cooper>breaks and timbers and things being pulled up out of the bottom. <v Mike Simonson>There are a dozen major known sunken ships in the Apostle Islands and maybe <v Mike Simonson>a dozen more still to be found here.
<v Mike Simonson>This crew's hope is to keep wrecks and artifacts like this around for generations to <v Mike Simonson>come. <v Dave Cooper>The NACC Bay has actually remained pretty intact. <v Dave Cooper>A lot of the artifacts, most of the artifacts that were on it when it was found are still <v Dave Cooper>there. People have been real respectful of the site. <v Mike Simonson>And for those lacking respect, Cooper says a new Wisconsin law this year makes it <v Mike Simonson>possible for the DNR to crack down on shipwreck looters and allows more money to <v Mike Simonson>provide anchor buoys to protect wreck sites. <v Mike Simonson>The law is as tough as those in neighboring Illinois and Michigan to keep out-of-staters <v Mike Simonson>from targeting wrecks in Wisconsin. <v Dave Cooper>And people from southeastern Wisconsin coming up there and doing a fair amount of <v Dave Cooper>looting. We have a lot of wreck-hunting out of Chicago that goes up into <v Dave Cooper>the DA County area and really all the way down Sheboygan, uh, <v Dave Cooper>Milwaukee. And there's still seems to be a fair amount of looting activity <v Dave Cooper>that goes on down there. <v Mike Simonson>Cooper thinks the tide is turning with divers adopting wrecks to monitor and a mix of <v Mike Simonson>education as well as enforcement. <v Dave Cooper>We're hoping not to have to really use the iron fist with this uh
<v Dave Cooper>with this tactic, but it's looking like if there's one here that's bound to happen, it's <v Dave Cooper>going to be Lake Michigan because we have some serious attitude problems down here. <v Mike Simonson>New penalties to adjust these attitudes include a $5000 fine and confiscation <v Mike Simonson>of boats and equipment used in looting shipwrecks. <v Dave Cooper>Some of the people who were in this business are fairly wealthy people. <v Dave Cooper>These aren't, you know, sort of mom and pop operations. <v Dave Cooper>Some of these guys are wealthy hobbyists and are um <v Dave Cooper>used to having their own way in their own say. So they have some of the worst attitudes <v Dave Cooper>about public resources and abiding by the law. <v Dave Cooper>I'm talking some of the wreck hunters on Lake Michigan. <v Mike Simonson>State DNR director of law enforcement Ralph Christensen says the new law does <v Mike Simonson>give them more money for patrolling Lakes Michigan and Superior, but that's a lot of <v Mike Simonson>water to cover. And they're still responding to complaints more than actually catching <v Mike Simonson>looters red handed. Christensen says divers have to monitor themselves.
<v Speaker>[?inaudible?] <v Mike Simonson>So Rob Barrows takes a video camera as he rolls over the side of Orian. <v Speaker>[Splashing]. <v Mike Simonson>But not Bay was buried in shifting sands for decades before it was rediscovered <v Mike Simonson>in 1983, and diver John Jensen tells Cooper that the sand continues <v Mike Simonson>to be a problem. <v John Jensen>It almost buried it last year except for a little bit by the rudder whose, maybe, ye much <v John Jensen>of the back end of the rudder sticking out. <v Dave Cooper>Uh huh. <v Speaker>Last <v Speaker>year there was maybe this much exposed - 8, 10 inches on each side, <v Speaker>but scoured out... <v Mike Simonson>The idea isn't to keep these wrecks out of public view. <v Mike Simonson>And in fact, Cooper says some should have artifacts recovered if there is a danger of <v Mike Simonson>theft or of nature ruining them. <v Mike Simonson>And Cooper says they encourage divers to explore these wrecks. <v Mike Simonson>The Apostle Islands National Park Service offers waterproof divers' guides. <v Dave Cooper>History of the vessel and photograph, and that sort of thing.
<v Dave Cooper>We're hoping to do that for all the other sites in this area. <v Dave Cooper>As uh interpretive guides, visitors guides. <v Mike Simonson>Cooper says these wrecks are part of Wisconsin, part of state history that <v Mike Simonson>could never be replaced. <v Dave Cooper>These ships and these shipwrecks are a lot of who we are as a region, <v Dave Cooper>as communities, as individuals. And the Great Lakes is quite an interesting laboratory <v Dave Cooper>historically and ecologically, because we we have this very unique body <v Dave Cooper>of freshwater, unique blue water environment here <v Dave Cooper>in setting. <v Mike Simonson>Onboard the Orian and the Apostle Islands, Mike Simonson, Wisconsin <v Mike Simonson>Public Radio. <v Speaker>[Splashing] <v Mike Simonson>On November 10th, 1975, an icy storm slammed eastern Lake Superior
<v Mike Simonson>ships with 25 foot waves and hurricane force winds. <v Mike Simonson>It was a storm that didn't just pass through, but continued its fury for more than a day. <v Mike Simonson>The seven hundred twenty nine foot ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald had been taking on water <v Mike Simonson>for several hours and had developed a list. <v Mike Simonson>A list its massive pumps couldn't correct. <v Mike Simonson>Captain Ernest McSorley radioed that he had topside damage, lost his radar, <v Mike Simonson>but was holding his own. It would be the last words heard from the Fitzgerald as it <v Mike Simonson>disappeared from radar going down with all 29 hands. <v Mike Simonson>For 19 years, the ship and its crew had been left alone, <v Mike Simonson>virtually undisturbed, but not forgotten. <v Mike Simonson>Remembered at Maritime Memorial Services. <v Announcer>Ernest McSorley. <v Announcer>Master, Toledo, Ohio. <v Announcer>John McCarthy, first mate, Bay Village, Ohio. <v Announcer>James Pratt, second mate, Lakewood, Ohio. <v Announcer>Michael Armacost, third mate, Iron River, Wisconsin. <v Janice Armagost>I started shaking... <v Announcer>George Hall... <v Janice Armagost>And I just knew.
<v Janice Armagost>Mike had always said the water is so cold in Lake Superior in the fall <v Janice Armagost>that if you ever fall overboard, you may as well forget it. <v Janice Armagost>And I just I knew it was all over at that minute. <v Mike Simonson>The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald with all hands changed Janice Armagost's future <v Mike Simonson>from secure a wife and Mother to the uncertain future as a widow of the ship's <v Mike Simonson>third mate and mother of two small children. <v Mike Simonson>And it became an obsession for Fred Shannon of Mount Morris, Michigan, to solve a mystery <v Mike Simonson>of an apparently able ship that sank so fast that no distress call was ever made. <v Mike Simonson>Two people, two paths intersecting in 1994 from a <v Mike Simonson>tragedy that set them at odds with each other. <v Mike Simonson>Shannon has spent the last 19 years researching and lecturing about the Fitzgerald, a nd <v Mike Simonson>this past July led a submarine expedition to the twisted wreckage on the Canadian <v Mike Simonson>side of eastern Lake Superior. <v Diver>I'm starting to see bottom. Seeing bottom. <v Diver>Hang on, hang on. We're right over the wreck. We're right over there.
<v Diver>Boy, oh, boy, oh, boy. Man. Hard <v Diver>to believe. <v Mike Simonson>The cold, unpolluted water of Lake Superior makes for good visibility <v Mike Simonson>and little marine life and Delta Submarine pilot David Slater, a veteran of <v Mike Simonson>hundreds of ocean dives, says this freshwater dive is unique. <v David Slater>See the physics involved in something that large, that much steel, crashing <v David Slater>and twisting and turning. It's quite phenomenal. <v Mike Simonson>Slater dives includes the World War One era Lusitania and says the Fitz is <v Mike Simonson>the most modern day wreck his crew has explored. <v David Slater>Most of the wrecks we've been on are turn of the century or earlier. <v David Slater>This is the most modern wreck we've been on. <v David Slater>And that adds a little bit to it. As far as I don't know, the modernness <v David Slater>of the Fitzgerald makes you pause and consider <v David Slater>the tragedy and tragedy that was involved there until this year. <v Mike Simonson>None of the crew members remains had ever been found, and many consider the wreck a <v Mike Simonson>sacred gravesite for the 29 crew members.
<v Mike Simonson>So the finding on the fourth dive the first day stunned the expedition. <v Mike Simonson>Here's expedition leader, Fred Shannon. <v Fred Shannon>At approximately 6:18, <v Fred Shannon>we discovered a crew members body. <v Fred Shannon>The body was not in the wreckage, but in an area <v Fred Shannon>near the wreckage, near the mouth section. <v Mike Simonson>It was the first of the dead that Lake Superior would give up from this crew. <v Mike Simonson>And expedition videographer Rick Mixtor says it brought home the reality of what they <v Mike Simonson>were doing and what the stakes were. <v Rick Mixtor>When we all heard it, I mean, everything stopped. <v Rick Mixtor>Everything stopped. And I mean, there was just disbelief. <v Rick Mixtor>And I think that it's a very, very tender ground that any diver who dives <v Rick Mixtor>shipwrecks will run into. There are still several shipwrecks in the Great Lakes that have <v Rick Mixtor>bodies on 'em. Some people exploit it. <v Mike Simonson>Shannon notified the Canadian government of his find and declared the area off limits <v Mike Simonson>for the second and last day of the expedition. <v Mike Simonson>It was something Shannon knew he might find and was something the families of crew
<v Mike Simonson>members of the Fitzgerald feared would someday happen. <v Mike Simonson>In Superior, Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio. <v Mike Simonson>For 19 years, the Fitzgeralds sat quietly on Lake Superior's bottom with all 29 <v Mike Simonson>crew members that went down with her in the 1975 November gale, untouched <v Mike Simonson>until 1994. <v Mike Simonson>Janice Armagost dreaded this moment, dreaded hearing that an expedition exploring the <v Mike Simonson>Fitzgerald wreck site for the first time had found the remains of a crew member. <v Janice Armagost>What bothers me immensely is that that body is in view <v Janice Armagost>of any other person that will go down there in a submarine. <v Janice Armagost>It scares me to think that someday somebody might take a camera down there and <v Janice Armagost>that this will end up on the front page of The National Enquirer. <v Mike Simonson>Janice Armacost was 29 years old and a mother of two young children in Iron <v Mike Simonson>River, Wisconsin, when her husband, Michael, left Superior on what would be his <v Mike Simonson>final trip onboard the Edmund Fitzgerald.
<v Mike Simonson>She never worried about Michael. After all, these huge ore carriers simply did not sink. <v Mike Simonson>Now she counts herself and her now grown son and daughter as survivors of that shipwreck. <v Janice Armagost>And see, nobody realizes that that there are survivors. <v Janice Armagost>I mean, my kid's father is on that ship and my husband's <v Janice Armagost>on that ship. <v Janice Armagost>And people just think of it as a shipwreck that happened so long ago. <v Janice Armagost>And it's not. <v Mike Simonson>Expedition archaeologist Phil Wright worked for the Ontario government notifying <v Mike Simonson>families after shipwreck remains have been found at other sites. <v Mike Simonson>He says finding this body forces the question of ethics. <v Mike Simonson>Is it archeology or is it trespassing on sacred ground? <v Phil Wright>That brings more sorrow to them, as I would imagine. <v Phil Wright>It's very hard. Events like this bring it up again. <v Phil Wright>That healing process, I guess, never ends with the fact that finding human remains <v Phil Wright>is probably open.
<v Mike Simonson>The expedition also found other things disturbing to families of the crew of the last <v Mike Simonson>minutes of their lives. Shannon says his video shows clean breaks along the welded <v Mike Simonson>areas of the ship's hall, indicating structural failure, breaking the ship in pieces. <v Mike Simonson>And most disturbing is video of three open doors and the body found outside the <v Mike Simonson>ore carrier indicating the ship broke up on top of Lake Superior with the crew knowing <v Mike Simonson>its fate and trying to flee. <v Fred Shannon>I believe when she broke in two that, everybody knew they knew something was drastically <v Fred Shannon>wrong and it was every man for himself. <v Fred Shannon>I don't think there was any organized effort to to exit the vessel <v Fred Shannon>or to use lifesaving equipment. <v Fred Shannon>Fact that they found two lifeboats and two life inflatable <v Fred Shannon>life rafts lends credence to the fact that really nobody got out to <v Fred Shannon>where those items were located and attempted to launch them. <v Mike Simonson>That's expedition leader Fred Shannon. <v Mike Simonson>He knows his theory is hard on families, but thinks there is a measure of comfort in <v Mike Simonson>knowing what actually happened 19 years ago.
<v Fred Shannon>They always knew that their husbands and brothers and sons were fighters and that if <v Fred Shannon>there was any possible way to save their self or to <v Fred Shannon>save anybody else, that they would have done it. <v Fred Shannon>They feel some solace in the fact that there was an attempt by <v Fred Shannon>these brave men to do something, that they were not <v Fred Shannon>just trapped in their fate. <v Mike Simonson>But the truth is not easy for these Fitzgerald survivors. <v Mike Simonson>Janice Armogast says it's all very difficult. <v Janice Armagost>I was always able to stop myself from thinking up to a certain point, <v Janice Armagost>you know, when I think of Mike on the boat. <v Janice Armagost>As soon as I would reach a certain point like the last three, four or five <v Janice Armagost>minutes of his life, I was always able to just block that out of my <v Janice Armagost>mind and never really come to grips with it. <v Janice Armagost>But now this is making me deal with more things. <v Mike Simonson>And it's upsetting to think of her husband's last moments of life. <v Janice Armagost>And that, of course, makes you think what went on in somebody's mind the last five
<v Janice Armagost>minutes, the last 10 minutes before they died. <v Mike Simonson>Janice Armagost never remarried, raising her two children alone. <v Mike Simonson>Even after 19 years, she thinks of him often. <v Janice Armagost>You know, I look at my kids and I see Michael. <v Janice Armagost>So that's a reminder every day. <v Mike Simonson>Nineteen years ago, the unthinkable of modern shipping happens during the infamous <v Mike Simonson>gales of November on Lake Superior, and a wife becomes a widow <v Mike Simonson>with no chance to say goodbye. <v Janice Armagost>I would've told him I loved him and thank him for the years that we had together. <v Janice Armagost>And I would have tried to tell him that we would be <v Janice Armagost>OK. That his children would grow up to be <v Janice Armagost>fine young adults, which they are. <v Announcer>Oliver Shampole, third assistant engineer, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. <v Announcer>Frederick Beecher, porter, Superior, Wisconsin. <v Announcer>Thomas Benson, boiler, St. Joseph, Michigan.
Lake Superior Trials
Producing Organization
Wisconsin Public Radio
National Public Radio (U.S.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"This is a composite of a year in the life of the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. "It begins with a report from February, 1994 about the rare freezing over of Lake Superior and the impact it has on the ports, U.S. Coast Guard and ice anglers. This tory first aired on National Public Radio's 'Morning Edition'. Our second report is an ice rescue of a ship trapped before it could reach open water. This story comes from onboard the Coast Guard cutter 'Sundew' and looks at the art of ice rescues. "The next story is from onboard the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers barge 'Lake Superior' during an effort to recover Department of Defense barrels secretly dumped into Lake Superior over 30 years ago. The recovery effort is done to check the safety of these submerged barrels, and is done with the assistance of a U.S. Navy dive team. The fourth story accompanies Wisconsin State Historical Society Archaeology [sic] divers trying to locate and inventory turn-of-the-century shipwrecks in Lake Superior's Apostle Island. This is an effort to preserve the shipwrecks in both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, and the report is done from onboard a Boston Whaler. "The last report is a two-part series from a four-day submarine expedition over the wreckage of the [sic] carrier Edmund Fitzgerald in Eastern Lake Superior. Included is sound from the first submarine dive by the expedition leader, and the first findings of the remains of a Fitzgerald crewmember and the [sic] it had on one family member of the crew, the widow of the third mate. This series explored possible reasons for its sudden sinking in 1975 and the lasting human impact the disappearance of this ship has [sic] 19 years later. The stories evoked some listener comment including an email message saying it made them understand the feelings of the families and the last moments of the crew."--1994 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: Wisconsin Public Radio
Producing Organization: National Public Radio (U.S.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-f0c97ef2be6 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio cassette
Duration: 0:30:00
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Chicago: “Lake Superior Trials,” 1994, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 3, 2022,
MLA: “Lake Superior Trials.” 1994. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 3, 2022. <>.
APA: Lake Superior Trials. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from