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Eastland: The Shipwreck that Shook America
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Eastland: The Shipwreck that Shook America

Monday, Aug. 3, at 10 p.m.

Repeats Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 3 a.m. and Sunday, Aug. 9, at 5 a.m.

Also airs on Fusion on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m.

EASTLAND: THE SHIPWRECK THAT SHOOK AMERICA is the shocking story of how hundreds of immigrant factory workers and their families, setting out for a leisurely summer cruise, died aboard a heavily loaded steamship that tipped over in the Chicago River, and how the rich and powerful who were responsible for the disaster got away with it. Prior to its use on the Chicago, the steamer Eastland was used for many years as a ferry between Cleveland and Cedar Point.

Victims’ relatives recount how the tragedy, referred to by historians as “the blue-collar Titanic,” affected their families for decades. Court documents reveal that the Eastland’s owners knew of the ship’s stability problems months before the disaster, yet rolled the dice as innocent passengers boarded for a Western Electric company picnic in July 1915.

EASTLAND stories of heroism and heartache include rescuer Reggie Bowles, dubbed “The Human Frog” and news photographer Jun Fujita, an immigrant himself, who risked his life capturing iconic images of the disaster.

The documentary includes extremely rare, previously censored newsreel footage of the disaster’s immediate aftermath, as well as archival interviews with passengers who survived the ship’s horrific sideways tumble into the polluted Chicago River. State-of-the-art computer graphics demonstrate how the unstable steamer dramatically rocked back and forth before rolling over, killing 844 in a matter of minutes.