Jacksonville: The Coast Guard plans to end its search at sunset for 33 missing crew members from a US cargo ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin, officials announced Wednesday afternoon.
Coast Guard officials made the announcement at a 3 p.M. news conference. Robert Green, father of missing crew member LaShawn Rivera, said despite the decision, "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.
"We will be looking at everything. So, we leave no stone unturned in our investigation and our analysis. We want to find every bit of information that we possibly can," Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB vice-chairman, said.
In addition to the voyage data recorder — which begins pinging when it gets wet and has a 30-day battery life — the board will focus on communications between the captain and the vessel's owner.