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Ten Hours Until Dawn

The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In the midst of the Blizzard of 1978, the tanker Global Hope floundered on the shoals in Salem Sound off the Massachusetts coast. The Coast Guard heard the Mayday calls and immediately dispatched a patrol boat. Within an hour, the Coast Guard boat was in as much trouble as the tanker, having lost its radar, depth finder, and engine power in horrendous seas. Pilot boat Captain Frank Quirk was monitoring the Coast Guard's efforts by radio, and when he heard that the patrol boat was in jeopardy, he decided to act. Gathering his crew of four, he readied his forty-nine-foot steel boat, the Can Do, and entered the maelstrom of the blizzard.

Using dozens of interview and audiotapes that recorded every word exchanged between Quirk and the Coast Guard, Tougias has written a devastating, true account of bravery and death at sea.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 01, 2005 – Before The Perfect Storm, there was the 1978 blizzard that lashed the Massachusetts coast with blinding snow, 90-mile-per-hour winds and 40-foot waves. Into the juggernaut sailed the small boat Can Do and its crew of five civilians on a doomed mission to assist two other vessels imperiled by the storm. As in The Perfect Storm, all hands were lost; but since the Can Do sank only a few agonizing miles from shore, there are records of terse radio transmissions to help the author recreate their last desperate hours. Journalist Tougias (The Blizzard of '78) fills out his absorbing account with lots of search-and-rescue procedural details, recollections from others who endured the monstrous seas of that hellish night and 300 years' worth of maritime disaster sagas. At times, the book feels padded with lengthy, adulatory back stories about the Can Do crew and needless speculations (i.e., "Kenny Fuller likely thought of his wife, knowing that if he died it would be especially hard on her"). And the story's outcome-the Can Do never got anywhere near the boats it went to help, both of which survived the storm-raises questions about the wisdom of the heroic ethos it celebrates. Still, Tougias delivers a well-researched, vividly written tale of brave men overwhelmed by the awesome forces of nature. Photos.
Ten Hours Until Dawn
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: Apr 01, 2007
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 250 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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