The U.S. Coast Guard says they have found a debris field that is 225-square nautical miles in size. The debris is feared to be from the missing El Faro cargo ship. The ship went missing in the Bermuda Triangle near the Crooked Island in the Bahamas on Friday along with 33 crew members. The crew was made up of 28 Americans and five Poles. Rescue crews say they have searched a total of 70,000 square nautical miles and there is so far no sign of any of the missing crew members.
According to the Daily Mail, the cargo ship called the El Faro went missing on Friday in the Bermuda Triangle after the ship’s captain sailed into the path of Hurricane Joaquin. The ship, which was a car carrier, sent a distress signal to the U.S. Coast Guard that said that the vessel had lost power and was being overtaken by the storm. The distress signal noted that the ship was taking on water and was located just outside of the Crooked Island in the Bahamas.
The U.S. Coast Guard immediately sent two rescue helicopters to search for the missing vessel but came up empty handed. As Hurricane Joaquin passed and the seas cleared, the emergency rescue crews say they have found three empty life preservers and multiple empty life vests in a debris field that is 225-square nautical miles long.
Nearly 48 hours after the distress call from the boat, the debris was found. In addition to the life vests and preservers, loose deck materials, cargo, and styrofoam have also been identified from the wreckage. First Coast News reported the finding the empty life vests and flotations rings.
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Though the discovery may seem to indicate that there are no survivors, the U.S. Coast Guard says the findings are actually a positive thing. In fact, they note that finding some of the wreckage and life vests indicates that they are searching the right area and that survivors may still be found despite the 48 hour disappearance.
“It validates our search efforts and while we are disappointed we did not find the ship today we are hopeful. Tomorrow, we will have three C-130s flying and the Navy will be assisting again with a P-8 aircraft.”
The uncle of one of the ship’s crew members says that he is still hopeful that his nephew will be found safe at sea. He notes that the crew on the ship are trained to survive at sea during a disaster such as this which means that there is still a chance that they could be alive and are waiting to be found by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“These men are trained to survive hopefully they did what was needed to survive. We just want you to please pray for these men.”
Meanwhile the crisis management firm working for Tote, the company who owns the El Faro cargo ship, says that “all hands are on deck” in the search and rescue efforts. The rescue crews are hopeful that the crew members can be found and that their experience is keeping them alive at sea.
Though the company says they are doing their best to locate the missing crew members, family members of the crew are asking why the highly-experienced captain took the ship through the path of Hurricane Joaquin instead of waiting until it was safe to pass. Currently the company has no response to the inquiries other than the captain was a capable man with 20-years of experience.
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