The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations with Ric Mixter

  • Thu, October 13, 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • NCMC Library Conference Center
  • 21



The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations

A song turned the Edmund Fitzgerald into a legend, but how much of it is true? Researcher Ric Mixter has interviewed the men who built and sailed the ship, and his profile of the investigations from Coast Guard to the bell raising project have been featured on PBS for over twenty years. Ric is one of only a handful of people who have visited the wreck personally, diving 550 feet down in a tiny submarine to explore the site for over an hour. This was actually the beginning of over 20 years of research for Mixter, who has collected one of the largest film archives of Fitzgerald related material. Ric’s lecture includes exclusive footage of the building of the ship near Detroit, along with interviews from the men who worked at the shipyard. When Fitzgerald splashed into the Detroit River, it was the largest object ever dropped into freshwater- over 729 feet in length.

Details from five major expeditions are now being published in Ric’s new book, the most indepth look at what each team found, and the controversies that ensued. Also featured are a dozen other shipwrecks that were among the first to be explored by submersibles during each of the tours.

The Fitzgerald was investigated by the Coast Guard with a remote robot in 1976, and then by Jacques Cousteau in 1980. Ric shares interviews from both, including rare audio from the CURV III team and Jacques’ son Jean-Michel, who was in charge of Calypso when they lost a diver exploring the Great Lakes. Investigations in 1989, 1994 and the bell raising in 1995 are also covered in the lecture, along with Ric’s insight on what might have happened to the ship and crew. Ric’s documentary on the Fitzgerald is considered to be the most comprehensive available, and it outsells all other shipwreck documentaries on the Great Lakes. He has captivated audiences all around the lakes with this topic, with a special invitation to share his scientific findings on the topic at NASA’s Goddard Space Laboratory in 2019.

Cancellations are non-refundable within 24 hours of this event.

Ric Mixter Bio 

With dozens of appearances in two countries and three states last year, Ric Mixter is certainly one of the busiest maritime speakers, rumored to be the most requested historian on the Great Lakes.  Visiting museums, libraries, schools and his live music concert “STORM”, thousands of audience members get a new appreciation for our unique inland-sea history through his spellbinding lectures. 

Millions of television viewers recognize Ric Mixter as a shipwreck researcher, diving over 100 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, including the Edmund Fitzgerald. He has produced over 30 programs for PBS and the Outdoor Channel, and appeared as a shipwreck expert on the History and Discovery Channels.   He leads the pack when it comes to sharing our unique underwater resources with the general public, and thousands of dive show patrons and countless school kids know him as the energetic story teller who uses video like no other presenter can.  His stories appear in books, magazines and in radio and TV news programs.  Mixter’s YouTube videos have over a million views, covering shipwrecks in four of the Great Lakes and adventures in several foreign lands.

Ric served as SCUBA cameraman on underwater expeditions to the Great Lakes largest shipwrecks, the Edmund Fitzgerald and Carl D. Bradley.  He has interviewed dozens of shipwreck survivors over the past 15 years, including two from the 1913 Storm, two from the 1940 Armistice Day Storm and survivors from the largest shipwrecks in lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie.  Today he runs his own production company, Airworthy Productions.   He’s been Emmy nominated and has taken several awards including the Addy, Aurora, Michigan Association of Broadcasters Best Use of Medium, AP, UPI and was the 2007 Vescio award winner for a video on mental health advocacy.  With over 20 years of stories on historical preservation, Ric was awarded the 2009 Award for Historic Interpretation by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime Historians.  In 2011 he was elected to their board of directors.  Ric is also on the board of directors for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, elected to serve as their president starting in January of 2016.  Ric has hosted the largest dive show in Ontario and also MC’d the midwest’s largest show in Chicago.  He is a frequent speaker at Ghost Ships in Milwaukee and Michigan’s largest show “Great Lakes Shipwrecks”.

Ric is also a pilot- flying not only single engine planes, but also has flight time in several military jets.  These include the US Air Force’s Thunderbird F-16 Falcon, and over 100 hours of camera work in the B-52 Stratofortress.  He’s flown in the Goodyear Blimp and countless biplanes and aerobatic aircraft and has also jumped several times from over 12,000 feet as a skydiver.  Ric also adept to filming in helicopters, from flying over the jungles of Honduras with the Army, to being lowered in a rescue basket into Lake Huron by the Coast Guard. 

Historical Documentaries:

Sunken Treasure  2012

Offshore Outposts 2011

Cement Boat  2009

Bombs Away  2008

Cutter Rescues  2006

Final Run: Storms of the Century  2005

Safe Ashore: The 1940 Armistice Day Storm  2004

Great Lakes In Depth  (26 episodes on PBS and the Outdoor Channel) 2000-2001

Deep Six: Titanics of the Great Lakes  1998

The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations  1997

Expedition ’94 to the Edmund Fitzgerald  1995

Best Adventure Yet 1993

Books & Periodicals

“The Wheelsmen” 300 page book reprinted 2015

“Nordmeer” Michigan History Magazine 2015

“McDougal’s Dream” Michigan History Magazine 2013

“Bombs Away” Winter 2011

“Shipwrecks of Saginaw Bay” Michigan History Magazine July 2014

“Voices of the Lakes” article in book 1993

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