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The Wreck and Rescue of the J.H. Hartzell

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The Wreck and Rescue of the J.H. Hartzell

   It was dark as pitch at 3:00am October eighteenth, 1880. The night was calm and the winds were light. Captain William Jones skillfully guided his big Schooner toward the Frankfort harbor. He chose to wait for daylight before entering the darkened harbor. It was a tragic decision. With unbelievable quickness, the winds shifted and a raging storm descended over Lake Michigan. In the furious darkness, Jones found that he could not control his ship. It soon ran aground on a sandbar, directly in front of the Elberta bluffs. In an effort to escape the violent surf, the crew took refuge in the precarious rigging. The cook, LYDIA DALE (Karen Fredrickson) was weak with illness, and was carried aloft through the extraordinary efforts of the crew.

The rescue that followed went down in history as one of the most heroic and challenging of the United States Life Saving Service. The bitter wind and snow, the howling seas, and the logistics of the wreck site all took their toll on both victims and rescuers.

This film faithfully re-creates a true adventure occuring during the "golden age of sail" on the Great Lakes.


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