One body has been found during the search for survivors which is still being called a search and rescue mission according to the US. Coast guard. The 790 foot missing cargo ship “El Faro” that was carrying 28 Americans as well as 5 Polish nationals sunk during Hurricane Joaquin.
A cargo ship that went missing off the coast of the Bahamas in the midst of Hurricane Joaquin is reported to have sunk, according to new information from the U.S. Coast Guard. One body has been found along with debris from the ship during the days-long search for the vessel.
There were 33 crew members aboard the boat, including 28 American and five Polish citizens. The Coast Guard searched over 70,000 square miles of the Atlantic before finding the ship’s debris field on Sunday near the Crooked Island in the Bahamas.
Officials say the focus is still a search and rescue mission to locate the other crew members.
The ship, called the El Faro, lost communication with the Coast Guard early Thursday, after the crew reported that it was taking on water while traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The El Faro departed on Sept. 29, when Joaquin was still a tropical storm on a regular cargo supply run when it ran into trouble.
The crew reported that the ship had lost power, had taken on water and was listing 15 degrees but that the situation was “manageable,” in their last communication with Coast Guard officials on Thursday morning, according to ship owner TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico. They have not been heard from since.
On Friday and part of Saturday, Hurricane Joaquin was stalled over the Bahamas, battering the area. It was a Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of over 125-miles per hour.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard released footage of an orange life ring, with El Faro prominently written in black on the side, being pulled from the water.
Coast Guard search and rescue teams reported finding styrofoam, wood, cargo and other items over a 225 square mile area scattered with debris.
Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said during a press briefing on Monday that an airborne crew spotted several survival suits floating amid debris from the El Faro. Most were empty but one had a body inside. A helicopter crew confirmed the person was dead but had to leave the body behind to continue the search for possible survivors.
Four days into the search efforts, the chance of survival is looking slim.
But despite the odds, Coast Guard cutters and aircraft and a U.S. Navy plane are continuing to search the Atlantic Ocean. The ship’s owners say it carried more than enough lifeboats and rafts for everyone on board.
Fedor said a heavily damaged lifeboat from the El Faro was discovered, but it had no people or signs of life. The ship had two lifeboats capable of holding 43 people each.