Only a life preserver was found from the SS El Faro cargo ship which disappeared at the beginning of October in the Bermuda triangle region. The vessel with its 33-member crew fell off the radar during Hurricane Joaquin that devastated the eastern coast of the United States.
Even though the ship was lost weeks ago, the US Coast Guard launched hourly searches of the area where the vessel was last spotted on radar, with the hopes of finding survivors. Cutter boats and helicopters took part in the search and rescue operations.
The cargo ship carried on board 28 Americans and 5 Poles. Hurricane Joaquin caught up with the vessel a mile from Bermuda. The ship's signals went silent while it passed through the eye of the storm. The last SOS was localized near Crooked Island in the Bahamas.
The life preserver found by the US Coast Guard was first spotted by helicopter, writes the New York Daily News. The search will continue until they find at least some debris of the ship. Until then, there's hope that they'll find survivors due to the close proximity of the islands in that part of Bermuda.
The cargo carrier SS El Faro is property of an American company and was on a course from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Company management has also sent a team to take part in the search and rescue.
Since the beginning of the week, the US Coast Guard has ceased nighttime searches but commences them anew every morning. The U.S. Army has sent 2 planes, 1 helicopter and 1 military aircraft to aid the rescue teams based in Florida.
Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss of the US Coast Guard explained that it's not clear whether the cutoff of communication with the vessel was caused by Hurricane Joaquin.
"We don't know if these problems occurred before, after or because of the storm, " he said. "We don't know if the ship has sunk, or if it's floating freely or whether the crew managed to escape on lifeboats, " adds Doss.