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Finding El Faro: Coast Guard Searches for Possible Signs of Life in Wreckage – One Body Found

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for possible survivors of the ill-fated cargo ship El Faro Monday night, covering a total search area of more than 160,000 square nautical miles. On Thursday morning, the ship encountered turbulent water and winds from Hurricane Joaquin and lost communication with the Coast Guard. The ship was travelling from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico with a crew of 33 members.

It has been four days since the last correspondence and the Coast Guard was able to narrow its search after locating a 225 square mile debris field.

In the debris, a body, life ring, and lifeboat were found, leading the Coast Guard to believe the vessel sunk in its last know position recorded on Thursday near Crooked Island in the Bahamas.

“Life jackets, life rings, containers and an oil sheen have been located by Coast Guard aircrews,” the press release said. The objects were found about 75 miles northeast of the ship’s last position by a Coast Guard helicopter.

“Our focus is on survivors,” said Capt. Mark Fedora, chief of response. “That’s our mission.” He went on to say, “We’re not going to discount somebody’s will to survive.”

Weather conditions for Monday’s search and rescue include one foot seas and 15 knot winds with unrestricted visibility. The last message from El Faro: ‘There is a hurricane out here and we are heading straight into it’.

The latest from NTSB:

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board is launching a go-team to Jacksonville, Fla., to begin an investigation into the loss of the cargo ship El Faro, which was last heard from on October 1.

This morning the U.S. Coast Guard announced that the vessel, which was en route from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was lost in last week’s storm. The Coast Guard will participate in the NTSB’s investigation.

The team will be led by the NTSB’s Tom Roth-Roffy as investigator-in-charge. NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr is accompanying the team and will serve as the principal spokesperson during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

Vice Chairman Dinh-Zarr will be available for questions from credentialed media outside Hangar Six at Washington Reagan National Airport at 7:30 am ET on Tuesday just prior to the team’s departure for Florida.

Public Affairs Officer Peter Knudson will be on-scene in Jacksonville to coordinate media-related activities for the NTSB’s investigation.

American’s reported on board:

Michael Davidson, 53, Captain
Danielle Randolph, 34, Second Mate
LeShaun Rivera, 32, Merchant Seaman and Cook
Michael Holland, 25, engineer
Dylan Meklin, 23, engineer
Howard “Howie” Schoenly, 50, second engineer
Keith Griffin, 33, engineer
Steve Shultz, 51, crew member
Jeremy Riehm, 46, crew member
Frank Hamm, 49, merchant marine
Carey Hatch, 49
Louis Champa Jr., 51, Merchant Marine
Jeffrey Mathias
Jackie Jones, 38
Mariette Wright, 51
Roosevelt “Bootsy” Clark, 38

A Coast Guard Pilot searching for El Faro recounts the day’s events:

The latest search video:

The latest from USCG video:

The latest:

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