The Lonely Tale of a Shipwreck's Sole Survivor
Dennis Hale survived 1966 wreck in Great Lakes during brutal blizzard
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2013 9:58 AM CDT
An early picture of the SS Daniel J Morrell, from 1912. In 1966, the Morrell became the second-last industrial boat to sink in the Great Lakes.   (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Daniel_J._Morrell)

(Newser) – The SS Daniel J. Morrell was the second-to-last shipwreck on the Great Lakes, torn apart by a fierce blizzard on Nov. 28, 1966. Dennis Hale was the sole survivor of that wreck, and his harrowing tale is detailed in the Morning News. Hale had been sleeping when, around midnight, the 60-year-old ship started to break up amid 25-foot waves. He just had time to grab a lifejacket and pea coat—though no pants—before the life raft launched, but the pulverized ship slammed into the raft, knocking everyone into the water. Only four made it back into the life raft. By the morning, two of them were dead, and the third man died a few hours later, with the life raft just 200 yards from shore.

Hale clung to life over the next 34 hours in that life raft, in the freezing storm, before the Coast Guard finally found him, 25 pounds lighter than when the ship had sunk. After that, Hale was done with sailing. He refused to talk about what had happened, got divorced four times, and was so scarred by the experience that he was scared to take baths. But finally, 15 years later, Hale attended a meeting of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Society, where at last he found the strength to talk. “The next morning, I woke up, and I felt better," said Hale. "I’m the only lone survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck." He still has the lifejacket. Click for the entire harrowing account.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
The Lonely Tale of a Shipwreck's Sole Survivor is...
4%
72%
4%
9%
8%
3%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 33 comments
iq145
Apr 28, 2013 9:30 PM CDT
"Hale clung to life over the next 34 hours in that life raft, in the freezing storm, before the Coast Guard finally found him, 25 pounds lighter than when the ship had sunk." So... he lost 25 pounds in 34 hours? Either he was so scared he CRAPPED his guts out, or he's about to become a billionaire when he markets his weight loss secret.
Libris_Fidelis
Apr 28, 2013 6:11 PM CDT
Steam-powered ships do NOT "sail" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For crying out loud... this is as bad as saying "food stamps" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
$28919642
Apr 28, 2013 6:04 PM CDT
The Great Lakes are very dangerous. Many ships & planes have been lost there.