Charlevoix, MI (In Lake Michigan) Freighter CARL D. BRADLEY Sinks, Nov 1958

Carl D. Bradley Lake Steamer.jpg



Charlevoix, Mich. (AP) -- Two men were found alive today in the angry waters of Lake Michigan, which it was feared had claimed lives of 33 others from the freighter CARL D. BRADLEY when she went down in the cold, storm-tossed lake late yesterday.
Unofficial tabulations indicated 18 bodies had been recovered but official sources reported only three.
Some veteran seamen expressed amazement that even two had survived overnight in 50-degree water in howling gale winds that piled up mountainous waves on the Great Lakes. The air temperature was 40.
The 615-foot BRADLEY, longer than two football fields end-to-end, went down about 6 p.m. off Gull Island at the top of Lake Michigan in 60-mile winds. Split apart, she apparently exploded when incoming water hit her hot boilers.
The German motorship Christian Sartori, which battled for more than an hour to cover the three miles to the sinking site, found no survivors, no life boats; nothing except a tank that came from deep inside and indicated explosion.
First mate ELMER FLEMING, 43, and deckman FRANK MAYS, 26, both of Rogers City, Mich., were found alive today off High Island, north and east of where the BRADLEY went down.
A sea plane reported sighting eight bodies on a raft, but was unable to say whether there was life in any.
Verne Cole of the Grand Rapids Herald, keeping tab on ship and aircraft radios reports at the elbow of a ham operator, said 18 bodies had been recovered.
There was no confirmation of any body recoveries from the Coast Guard.
Rescue craft, with waves still running high in 30-mile winds, were reported having difficulty getting into shallow waters where the bodies were reported sighted.
At 5:20 p.m. Tuesday the BRADLEY radioed its home port, Rogers City, it estimated it would, arrive at 2 a.m. today. A limestone carrier, it was en route home empty, having left its cargo for Gary steel mills at Buffington, Ind.
Then at 5:31 -- just 11 minutes later -- Capt. ROLAND BRYAN, the Bradley's skipper shouted into his radio: "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is the Carl D. Bradley. Our position is approximately 12 miles southwest of Gull Island. We are in serious trouble."
Next, a voice was heard: "Run, grab life jackets. Get the jackets. Mayday, the ship is breaking up."
(Mayday is the voice version of an ocean-going ship's SOS. Great Lakes vessels use voice radio.)
Capt. P. Mueller of the Christian Sarteri heard. He set his course of the scene, only three miles away. But in 68-mile winds and 20-foot waves, which follow each other much more closely on the lakes than on the oceans, it took him more than an hour to get there.
"I believe," he finally reported, "all hands are lost. No lifeboats are visible."

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