Everyone has seen Wolfgang Petersen’s film, “The Perfect Storm” with George Clooney as the protagonist and commander of a fishing boat, the Andrea Gail. Not everyone knows, however, that this is a true story that dates back to the end of October 28 years ago, when in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the city of Boston, suddenly “appeared” the Perfect Storm.
Halloween storm and the Andrea Gail
It’s Halloween 28 years ago. Meanwhile, Andrea Gail had been at sea for several days. After a lean period, an excellent fishing allowed the boat to head home on the October 27. Captain Frank Billy Tine Jr. had started to sail home with his crew of Michael Moran, Dale Murphy, Alfred Pierre, Robert Shatford and David Sullivan. In the Atlantic Ocean the autumn is the period of the storms called “Nor’easters” (north-eastern) that in history have caused panic among those who met them.
The one from 1991, however, is considered by many to be one of the worst. A cold front from the east coast of the United States created a low-pressure, which met a high-pressure ridge from Canada into the Atlantic. The encounter of the two fronts produced a swirling mass of wind as the air moved between areas of high and low pressure. Another unusual element made this storm so terrible. The short-lived “aftermath” of Hurricane Grace was still in the area. The warm air left by the hurricane was sucked into the cyclone, creating what was called “The Perfect Storm”, because of the rare combination of circumstances that made the storm incredibly powerful with winds of up to 185 kilometers per hour and waves of over 10 meters.
The captain of a Maine fishing vessel, Linda Greenlaw, was the last person to speak to Andrea Gail. On 30 October, the Andrea Gail was missing. The Coast Guard began a massive search for the Andrea Gail crew on October 31. Only a few remains of the vessel were found on November 5 on the coast of Sable Island, a small Canadian island 300 kilometers from Halifax. No one of the crew was ever found.