Oct 7, 2015 3:14 PM
Coast Guard to end search for 33 crew members Wednesday night
The Associated Press
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Coast Guard plans to end its search for 33 missing crew members from a U.S. cargo ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin, officials told family members Wednesday.
The Coast Guard said it will end its search for survivors from the El Faro on Wednesday evening, according to Robert Green, father of LaShawn Rivera. He said the Coast Guard informed relatives during a briefing at the Seafarers Internatonal Union hall in Jacksonville that the search would end between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Despite the decision, Green said, "I think we're still hopeful. Miracles do happen, and it's God's way only. I'm prayerful, hopeful and still optimistic."
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.
Earlier, federal investigators said they still hope to recover a data recorder from the ship as search crews continue looking for any survivors.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to Jacksonville on Tuesday to begin the agency's inquiry, which will help determine why the captain, crew and owners of El Faro decided to risk sailing in stormy waters.