From: La Salle, Colorado
There have been some really good TV shows about the Fitzy over the last few years, Discovery channel, I think.
Long and short answer to what happened is that she was pushing cargo from Minnesota, and was caught in a storm on Lake Superior. Most people don't realize how bad storms on the Great Lakes can be. Forensic engineering has suggested that the ship was at the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time. She was crossing a relatively shallow area of the lake (she is in 530 ft of water), and the period of the waves either caused excessive sagging, or that she actually shoaled on the bottom due to the wave motion. As a result, the cargo hatches came loose, and the ship filled with water and sank.
I haven't seen the shows in a few years, but they were very good. The sinking and loss of everyone onboard led to new regulations for lakes ships, and stricter enforcement. The real culprit was the desire to extend the Great Lakes shipping season before the ship technology or safety concerns were addressed.
I am a 35+ year merchant ships Chief Engineer, who has sailed on virtually every type of seagoing ship there is, and all over the world, but the Lakes scare the c*** out of me!
That is scary!