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On July 24, 1915, at about 7:30 A.M., the proud, sleek, Great Lakes steamer known as the Eastland rolled over onto its port side in the Chicago River near the Clark Street Bridge, taking the lives of 835 people, many trapped below decks, upside down and in total darkness, helpless to escape the deluge of rushing water. Only heroic rescue efforts kept the fatality count from reaching a much higher number.
As it is, the Eastland ranks as the worst disaster in Great Lakes annals and is often mentioned in the same breath as the Titanic, Lusitania and General Slocum as the greatest maritime disasters in history.
The Eastland Disaster, the latest entry in Southport Video's ever-expanding library of notable shipwreck programs, recreates the Eastland story in stunning detail, from its 1903 construction in Port Huron, Michigan, to a minute-by-minute account of its horrifying capsizing a dozen years later. Enhancing this compelling presentation are numerous rare photographs and artwork; newspaper headlines; a computer-generated recreation of the tragedy; and several in-depth interviews with experts on the disaster, including George W. Hilton, author of Eastland: Legacy of the Titanic.
Shortly after 6:30 A.M., passengers began boarding the Eastland; and it was soon apparent that the ship was top-heavy and struggling to stay afloat. At the time of the disaster, nearly 2500 people were aboard the vessel, which had begun to list only minutes after the boarding began. Frantic efforts to keep the Eastland from rolling onto its side were desperately futile. When the ship finally capsized, hundreds of people were trapped inside, while countless others were pitched in the Chicago River. Thousands of people stood on the nearby docks, watching helplessly as the drama unfolded.
This fascinating program brings history back to life.
- Video Time: 55 Minutes

Your Price $39.95 + 4.95SH


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