A timeline on the search for missing cargo ship El Faro

AP News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2015 4:26 PM
A timeline on the search for missing cargo ship El Faro

MIAMI (AP) — Here is a timeline on the search for the cargo ship El Faro, missing off the coast of the Bahamas:

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— Tuesday, Sept. 29: El Faro, with a crew of 33 and a cargo that included cars and retail goods, departed Jacksonville, Florida for San Juan, Puerto Rico for what was supposed to be a four-day voyage. As of 5 a.m. on the day of departure, then-Tropical Storm Joaquin had maximum wind speeds of 40 mph (65 kph) and its center was located about 385 miles (620 kilometers) northeast of the central Bahamas, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

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— Wednesday, Sept. 30: Joaquin intensifies from a tropical storm to a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). In the early hours of the morning, it was about 215 miles (345) east-north east of the Central Bahamas and heading southwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

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— Thursday, Oct. 1: TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, the ship's owner, loses all communication with the El Faro after the crew reported losing power and taking on water as the ship is passing near Crooked Island in the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane Joaquin is now a Category 3, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) with higher gusts. The hurricane-force winds extended 35 miles (55 kilometers) out from the center. The center was 10 miles (15 kilometers) north of Samana Cay in the southern Bahamas.

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— Friday, Oct. 2: The U.S. Coast Guard deploys the cutter Northland, an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew that was based in Great Inagua, Bahamas and HC-130 Hercules airplanes from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, to search for the El Faro. They find no trace of the ship.

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— Saturday, Oct. 3: The Coast Guard says it found a life ring from the El Faro about 120 miles northeast of Crooked Island. The ship's last known position was about 35 miles northeast of Crooked Island. U.S. Navy and Air Force planes and vessels hired by the owner of the El Faro also assist in the search.

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— Sunday, Oct. 4: The Coast Guard says it found a large debris field that appears to include material that came from the ship and a sheen of oil on the surface of the sea. The company says it found a container that came from the ship.

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— Monday, Oct. 5: The Coast Guard says it determined that the ship sank in 15,000 feet of water. It reports finding the body of one crew member and an empty life boat.