JACKSONVILLE, FL – It’s been nearly 24 hours since the coast guard ended its search for any survivors of the sunken ship the El Faro.
People are gathering in Jacksonville Florida to remember the crew – including 4 from Maine.
“Any decision to suspend a search is painful.” Capt. Mark Fedor, U.S. Coast Guard
That decision – to end the search for any possible survivors after the sinking of the El Faro – instantly turning hope into heartbreak for family and friends of the 33 crew members on board.
“If he can’t be recovered i hope he’s down there on the ship with everyone else.” Deb Roberts, Mike Holland’s Mother. Deb Roberts’ son Mike Holland from Wilton was on the cargo ship. So was Laurie Bobillot’s daughter Danielle Randolph from Rockland.
Last week the El Faro got caught in hurricane Joaquin while trying to sail from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. The coast guard says the ship is now likely 3 miles under water.
“The Coast Guard did everything imaginable to try to find our loved ones – i think they could have stopped looking a couple days ago but they just didn’t give up.” Laurie Bobillot, Danielle Randolph’s Mother
But other families say they don’t understand the decision, pleading for the Coast Guard to keep looking for their loved ones. Richard Pusatere’s wife Emily says she believes her husband and the others could still be alive. “If there is even a small chance by god’s will that one person made it to one of the 700 islands in the Bahamas I want to know that that person is a chance of being found and brought home. Our families need some type of answers i need some type of closure and i believe in miracles.”
But Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor says a person could only survive for 4 to 5 days in favorable conditions – it’s now been a week since there’s been any contact with the El Faro and its crew.
From Coast Guard presser
I want the families to know how committed we were to finding their loved ones, to finding our professional mariners, to finding those who go down to the sea in ships and do work upon great waters.
Some families are calling lawmakers – even presidential candidates – asking for the search to be resumed.
But here tonight it’s all about remembering those who went down on the El Faro. Including 5 of our neighbors and friends from home in Maine.
The US Coast Guard will now begin searching for the actual ship.