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Ship’s broken, blaring horn torments Wisconsin town for more than an hour, video shows

Listen to the broken, blaring ship horn that went off for an hour

The Freighter American Spirit, docked in Superior, Wisconsin, had a horn malfunction Tuesday that left the horn blaring for more than an hour on Lake Superior, police said. It could be heard from Duluth, Minnesota.
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The Freighter American Spirit, docked in Superior, Wisconsin, had a horn malfunction Tuesday that left the horn blaring for more than an hour on Lake Superior, police said. It could be heard from Duluth, Minnesota.

The American Spirit is apparently loud — and persistent.

That’s the name of a ship that was docked in Superior, Wisconsin, on Tuesday when its air horn started going off and wouldn’t stop, according to a Facebook post from police. Police said the vessel with the “malfunctioning” horn was in the waters behind a McDonald’s restaurant and that authorities were “working on finding a speedy resolution to the issue.”

But speedy the resolution was not.

After it started blowing at 7:30 p.m., the deafening horn kept going on and on (and on and on and on) until around 8:35 p.m., MLive reports. Police said many in the area reported the sound to authorities.

One local posted a 40-second video clip on Facebook, capturing the sound of the droning horn.

“It appears the horn is stuck on the American Spirit tonight,” Dan Mackey wrote on Tuesday night as he shared the video, which has been viewed thousands of times. “Not sure what led to that in winter layup here in Superior. It’s still going for at least a half hour now.”

WDIO reports that people could hear the noise all the way in Duluth, Minnesota — another port town on Lake Superior, across the St. Louis River from the Wisconsin city where the American Spirit was at dock.

Finally, the noise ended.

“As you have all undoubtedly noticed the horn has been shut off,” police wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “Thanks to everyone who responded so quickly to fix the issue, and thanks to everyone in East End for your patience.”

Facebook commenters responded to the police Facebook posts about the horn with a mix of good humor and law enforcement advice.

“Someone better be issuing a citation!” one commenter wrote. “Noise ordinance violation!!!”

Another Facebook user joked about assuming the noise was caused when a neighbor’s “muffler fell off his snow blower.”

Others just sounded desperate.

“Please hurry!” one woman begged.

The American Spirit has made headlines before: The freighter — which is 1,004-feet long — ran aground in Duluth last summer as it tried to leave the harbor hauling iron ore pellets, according to the Duluth News Tribune. No one was hurt in the incident.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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