Edmund Fitzgerald Investigative Report
The Coast Guard Report about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was released February 13, 1978. 3 years after the initial event. The Coast Guard spent extensive time and research into the mysterious sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The original report is over 100 pages long and goes into extensive detail into the wreck and their findings. Click the button below to access the full report. Some information has been redacted due to confidentiality and protection purposes of those involved.
Recovered Life Raft
In the original report, from pages 39-47, states the search results and recovered items. Below is an excerpt from the report stating the recovered life raft and how the raft was identified and related to the “Fitz”. The same serial numbers and codes listed below can be seen on the raft itself within the National Museum of the Great Lakes.
Despite the intensive search, no survivors were found, nor were any bodies recovered. Only one lifeboat, one-half of another lifeboat, two inflatable life rafts, twenty-one life jackets or life jacket pieces and some miscellaneous flotsam identified as being from FITZGERALD were found.
A SWITLIK, 25-man inflatable life raft, identified as being from FITZGERALD, was found inflated and floating upright, near the shore, in the vicinity of Coppermine Point. This raft was recovered by the M/V ROGER BLOUGH at 0942 on 11 November. The first raft inspected was the one recovered by the M/V ROGER BLOUGH. This raft was a SWITLIK inflatable life raft manufactured by the Switlik Parachute Co., Inc.,
Trenton, NJ . , Approved by U.S.C.G. for 25 persons, Lot No. 3,
Approval No. 160.051/20/1, Serial No. Spec. MM 13, Original
From May 20-28, 1976, CURV III (Cable-controlled Underwater Recovery Vehicle) made a total of 12 dives to the wreck site. CURV III logged over “43,000 feet of videotape and almost nine hundred 35mm color slides.” CURV is a United States Navy program that has been in development since the 1960’s. From the video tape and slide photos, these diagrams were constructed to show and indicate the damages plus how the boat lays on the lake bottom.
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