Author Michael Tougias discusses his book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue, now a major motion picture. Tougias relives the adventure through a slide presentation about the heroic 1952 Coast Guard rescue off the coast of Cape Cod, and share stories about the filming of the movie, which took place around the South Shore in 2014.
On February 18th, 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 fractured 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.