This is so sad.
A cargo ship, El Faro, is still missing after it initially reported on Thursday that it was taking on water while in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida in the middle of Hurricane Joaquin.
The ship, which was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida to Puerto Rico, got caught up in the storm earlier this week and sent in a signal to land that they were taking on water, but had been pumping it out as well in what was termed to be a manageable situation.
Now, search and rescue crews say they’ve found a life ring that belongs to the ship, though spokesman Petty Officer Bobby Nash told reporters:
“Because we found a life ring doesn’t tell us anything more than that we are searching in the right area.”
The search, which is focused on the ship and its 33 crew members (including 5 Polish workers and 28 Americans), is now being done by C-130 planes and Coast Guard ships.
It’s been incredibly difficult in the weather conditions, according to Coast guard pilot Lieutenant Dustin Burton:
“This was the most challenging weather conditions anyone on our crew had ever flown.”
As for why the ship would even venture out into the open ocean with hurricane conditions in place, an executive of the cargo ship’s holding company, Phil Greene, told news stations:
“The captain knew the conditions and communicated back to our headquarters, the conditions were, as he saw them then, favorable. He was very confident the ship was doing well, the crew was quite up to date. I think the most critical importance for us is that we share as much information as we have, that we’re upfront about the situations as we possibly can be.”
Our thoughts are with the crew and their families and loved ones as officials continue to figure out what’s happening.
[Image via CNN.]