Coast Guard ending search for cargo ship's crew

Oct 7, 2015 2:05 PM by Associated Press

The Coast Guard has told family members it is ending its search for 33 missing crew members from a U.S. cargo ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin.

The father of a missing crew member said the Coast Guard will end its search for survivors from the El Faro at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Robert Green, father of LaShawn Rivera, said the Coast Guard informed relatives Wednesday afternoon.

The 790-foot cargo ship sank Thursday off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds that was producing 50-foot waves. Officials say the ship's captain had plans to go around the storm as he headed from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico but the El Faro suffered unexplained engine failure that left it unable to avoid the storm.

Three Coast Guard cutters, two C-130 aircraft, helicopters, three commercial tugboats and a U.S. Navy plane were searched across a 300-square-mile expanse of Atlantic Ocean near Crooked Island in the Bahamas. The searchers found a body in a survival suit, but were unable to retrieve it. They also found an empty life raft, empty survival suits, a life ring and other debris.

The water in the area is 15,000 feet deep.


8:15 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it will try to retrieve the data recorder from 15,000 feet deep to learn why a cargo ship sank near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.

The safety investigation began as the Coast Guard continues to search for any of the 33 onboard that may have survived when container ship El Faro became disabled in the storm. Officials have said they found one body in a survival suit.

Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said late Tuesday that she hopes the ship can be found so investigators can access the Voyage Data Recorder.

Dinh-Zarr says the VDR begins pinging when it gets wet and has a 30-day battery life.


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