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Coast Guard To Call Off Search For El Faro Crew At Sunset

Maine Maritime Academy students attend a vigil of hope for the missing crew members of the U.S. container ship El Faro, Tuesday evening, Oct. 6.
Robert F. Bukaty AP
Maine Maritime Academy students attend a vigil of hope for the missing crew members of the U.S. container ship El Faro, Tuesday evening, Oct. 6.

Six days after communication was lost with the El Faro cargo ship as it drifted into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, the U.S. Coast Guard says it will end the search for survivors at sunset.

Of the 33 people aboard the ship, rescuers found one body on Monday:

"Several 'survival suits' were spotted floating in the water, one of which contained the body. In addition, an empty, heavily damaged lifeboat was found."

The ship went missing near the Bahamas after it set out from Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday. Bound for Puerto Rico, the cargo ship lost power and propulsion and the Coast Guard concluded Monday that it had sunk.

Twenty-eight of the 33 crew members were Americans, and the other five were from Poland.

As we previously reported:

"Joseph Murphy, a former master of commercial ships and now an instructor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, told Here & Now that he can understand why the tragedy occurred. "'Unfortunately, while people may think we have perfect information, we do not. When they sailed, it was reported as a tropical storm, something that ship has gone through many times in that very same areas,' he said. "What was not anticipated or known was the intensification of the storm and its development into a Category 4.' "Murphy said that one of the academy's graduates was aboard the ship. He characterized the loss as one of the 'perils of the sea.' "He said the ship 'had the best of equipment, it was well inspected. The crew were well trained. They were simply overwhelmed by the force of nature.'"

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