Black Friday – A perfect storm in 1916

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Black Friday happened October 20 1916.  On this day, a “perfect storm” hit Lake Erie, sinking four large ships, and killing forty-nine people. Two high pressure systems and a minor hurricane converged together in the western part of Lake Erie to create whipping shallow water into a fury. a devastating force that day.

The ships that sank to the depths by this violent weather were the James B. Colgate, Marshall F. Butters, D.L. Filer and the Mérida.

James B. Colgate had one survivor, The Captain, and was sailing to Thunder Bay when it sank. This wreck has been located on the lake bed.

Marshall F. Butters sank near the Detroit River. Two nearby ships rescued the the crew of thirteen. This wreck has been located.

D.L. Filer also sank near the mouth of the Detroit River, with only the captain being rescued the next day. This wreck has never been located.

The Merida was a Canadian steamer. Twenty-three crew members lost their lives. Their bodies were recovered, floating in their life vests. This wreck has been located.

Port Dover Harbour Museum

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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