On February 18, 1952, an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor'easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas. Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives.
Michael Tougias, co-author of the book and soon-to-be Disney movie The Finest Hours, uses slides to illustrate the harrowing tale of the rescue efforts amidst towering waves and blinding snow in one of the most dangerous shoals in the world.
Funded project of the New Hampshire Humanities Council. The New Hampshire Humanities Council is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.