Friday, August 10, 2007
A Michigan apple farmer and his family believe they've found a life ring from the Edmund Fitzgerald roughly 200 miles away from where the famed ship sank in Lake Superior 32 years ago. No tests have been conducted to prove it's a piece of the ore carrier that sunk in a vicious storm, killing 29 men. But the director of Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point says it matches in many ways another ring in its Fitzgerald collection.
Standing with the life ring they found are (from left) Joe Rasch, daughter Elizabeth, 10, daughter Emily, 14 and wife, Mary.The orange preserver is worn by the elements and critters chewing on it. But it reads "Edmund Fitzgerald" in faded but mostly legible white letters. Joe Rasch says he was vacationing with his family last week in Michigan's far north, hunting for agates along a remote beach, when he spotted the life ring. Maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse says he finds it hard to believe that someone could find a Fitzgerald life ring on a beach 30 years later.