Coast Guard suspends search for El Faro crew after 7-day search

ResoluteMIAMI — The Coast Guard suspended the search for possible survivors from the cargo ship El Faro, which is believed to have sunk during Hurricane Joaquin,  at sunset Wednesday,

Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Air National Guard and tugboat crews searched more than 183,000 square nautical miles off the Bahamian coast in a joint effort to locate the El Faro crew.

“I have come to a very difficult decision to suspend the search for the crew of the El Faro at sunset tonight. My deepest condolences go to the families, loved ones, and friends of the El Faro crew,” said Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, commander, Coast Guard 7th District. “U.S. Coast Guard, U.S Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Tote Maritime tug crews searched day and night, sometimes in perilous conditions with the hope of finding survivors in this tragic loss”

The El Faro, a 790-foot roll on, roll off cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Coast Guard watchstanders were notified the El Faro was disabled in the path of Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list. The crew reported the ship had previously taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

The Coast Guard located a deceased person in a survival suit in the water Sunday night. A heavily damaged life boat with markings consistent with those on board the El Faro were also located Sunday. Additional items located by search crews since Thursday include a partially submerged life raft, a survival suit, life jackets, life rings, cargo containers, Styrofoam, packaged food and an oil sheen.

Crew of the SS El Faro as provided by Tote Maritime:

Louis Champa Palm Coast, Florida
Roosevelt Clark Jacksonville, Florida
Sylvester Crawford Jr. Lawrenceville, Georgia
Michael Davidson Windham, Maine
Brookie Davis Jacksonville, Florida
Keith Griffin Fort Myers, Florida
Frank Hamm Jacksonville, Florida
Joe Hargrove Orange Park, Florida
Carey Hatch Jacksonville, Florida
Michael Holland North Wilton, Maine
Jack Jackson Jacksonville, Florida
Jackie Jones, Jr. Jacksonville, Florida
Lonnie Jordan Jacksonville, Florida
Piotr Krause Poland
Mitchell Kuflik Brooklyn, New York
Roan Lightfoot Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Jeffrey Mathias Kingston, Massachusetts
Dylan Meklin Rockland, Maine
Marcin Nita Poland
Jan Podgorski Poland
James Porter Jacksonville, Florida
Richard Pusatere Virginia Beach, Virginia
Theodore Quammie Jacksonville, Florida
Danielle Randolph Rockland, Massachusetts
Jeremie Riehm Camden, Delaware
Lashawn Rivera Jacksonville, Florida
Howard Schoenly Cape Coral, Florida
Steven Shultz Roan Mountain, Tennessee
German Solar-Cortes Orlando, Florida
Anthony Thomas Jacksonville, Florida
Andrzej Truszkowski Poland
Mariette Wright St. Augustine, Florida
Rafal Zdobych Poland

The following search-and-rescue units and crews assisted with the search:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida HC-130 Hercules airplane crews
  • Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews
  • Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina HC-130 Hercules airplane crews
  • Coast Guard Cutter Northland, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Coast Guard Cutter Resolute a 210-foot medium endurance cutter, homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton, homeported in Key West, Florida
  • Air Force Rescue Coordination Center
  • Air National Guard HC-130 airplane crews from the 106th Rescue Wing, Westhampton Beach, New York
  • Air Force WC-130 Super Hercules crews from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi
  • Navy P-8 Poseidon airplane crews from Naval Air Station Jacksonville
  • Air Force E-8C Joint Stars crews from the 116th Air Control Wing, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
  • Three commercial tugboats

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