Cellphone photo of lightning nearly striking Duluth-launched ship goes viral

Jack Brandenburg

Jack Brandenburg

On Tuesday morning, the Mesabi Miner—a 1,004-foot Great Lakes freighter—was en route to Indiana Harbor, Indiana, with a load of iron ore it had picked up in Duluth. That's when an epic bolt of lightning struck Lake Michigan, and shipmate Jack Brandenburg was ready with a Samsung cellphone camera.

"What can I say about this," Brandenburg wrote while posting his photo to Facebook. "Amazing..."

People seem to agree. 

USA Today, Detroit Free Press, and other outlets have written stories about Brandenburg's viral snapshot. Interlake Steamship Company, which owns the Mesabi Miner and eight other Great Lakes freighters, also posted it to Facebook, where it's been shared almost 7,000 times. 

By Wednesday, the Mesabi Miner had weathered the storm and delivered its load, USA Today reports. Bound for Silver Bay, it's about to arrive on Lake Superior, according to live-tracking website

Brandenburg, who's from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, couldn't be reached for comment about his newfound viral fame. Give him a high-five if you're hanging out by the docks in Silver Bay. 

Be sure to check previous coverage from City Pages' Viral Boat Desk, including that time the MV Paul R. Tregurtha whipped a sick 360 just outside of Duluth.