Coast Guard searching for ship with 33 aboard caught in Hurricane Joaquin

NASSAU — The fate of more than 30 crew aboard a cargo ship missing off the Bahamas in heavy seas whipped up by Hurricane Joaquin was unknown on Friday as the powerful storm battered the island chain for a second day.

News the vessel had lost contact with shore came as forecasters shifted the likely track of the potentially catastrophic storm further away from the U.S. East Coast, but there were still warnings about the possibility of severe flooding in the Carolinas from unrelated heavy rains.

In an advisory at 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Joaquin had weakened slightly to a Category 3 hurricane on a scale of 1 to 5, down from its previous Category 4 ranking.

Further slow weakening was expected over the next 48 hours, the Miami-based NHC said, as the storm moves northeastward over cooler waters.

Joaquin, the third hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season, was expected to move away from the Bahamas on Friday night. At 5 p.m. it was about 825 miles southwest of Bermuda with top sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, the NHC said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said search and rescue crews were hunting for the 735-foot El Faro and its 33 crew members after it was overcome by heavy weather from Joaquin off Crooked Island in the Bahamas on Thursday morning.

The ship, with 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals aboard, was headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida when it reported it had lost propulsion and was listing and taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said there had been no further communications after the vessel issued the emergency call at about 7:30 am Thursday.

The El Faro was in the eye of Joaquin about 35 miles north of Crooked Island when it issued the distress call, according to Chief Ryan Doss with the Coast Guard in Miami.

“We have had 20-foot seas reported so it’s going to take a while to get into the area,” Doss said.

A Coast Guard cutter headed to help after taking part in a separate rescue mission off Haiti, while two Air Force Hurricane Hunter planes searched in vain for the U.S.-owned El Faro.

“The low cloud cover makes satellite communications difficult,” Doss said, while the winds and high seas made it hard to get close enough by sea or air.

“The storm is so bad and slow moving it’s hard for our planes to get low enough to inspect the surface of the water.”

Mike Hanson, a spokesman for the owner of the ship, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, told Reuters all contact with the vessel had been lost since Thursday morning, which he said was “very unusual,” especially as the ship was equipped with a marine transponder, a satellite phone and GPS locators on the containers. “We checked them all,” he said.

The El Faro, built in 1975, recently underwent a complete updating, Hanson said, adding it had been carrying its standard cargo of groceries, cars and retail products for Puerto Rico.

Captain Stephen Russell, director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency, said earlier there were no reports of deaths or injuries in the Bahamas from Joaquin.

He cited reports of extensive flooding and structural damage on at least two smaller islands in the archipelago, but apart from some roofs ripped off houses, damage seemed to be limited.

The U.S. Coast Guard also said one of its helicopter crews had rescued 12 mariners who abandoned their sinking 212-foot cargo ship after it was beset by heavy weather from Joaquin on Thursday evening off the northwest coast of Haiti.

The storm dumped torrential rain over parts of the Bahamas but its hurricane-force winds missed the larger islands and the main cities and cruise ship ports of Freeport and Nassau.

An easterly shift in the forecast track of the slow-moving system meant it was expected to pass well off the U.S. eastern seaboard, according to the NHC.

But accumulated rainfall in the Carolinas from unrelated storms this week coupled with more on the way from Joaquin prompted a warning from the National Weather Service on Friday about a “historic, potentially life-threatening rainfall event” in parts of the Carolinas and northeast Georgia this weekend.

Up to 12 inches of rain were expected in some areas between Friday and Sunday, with flash floods and gusts up to 35 miles per hour likely to topple trees and cause power outages, the Weather Service said.

“Our state is now likely to miss any direct impact from the hurricane, but there’s still significant danger of flooding, high seas, heavy surf, beach erosion and overwash,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory told a news conference on Friday.

Two deaths in the Carolinas on Thursday were linked to heavy rainfall.

Earlier this week, the governors of New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland declared states of emergency and announced measures including mobilization of National Guard troops in preparation for the storm.

Before the first easterly shift in Joaquin’s trajectory, New York and New Jersey — where Superstorm Sandy killed more than 120 people and caused $70 billion of property damage in October 2012 – both faced potential threats from the storm.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Protesters Line Streets for President Trump's Arrival in Las Vegas
Hundreds lined the streets in front of Suncoast to protest President Donald Trump's arrival in Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Thunder Mountain monument stands as a tribute to Native American culture
Caretaker Fred Lewis talks about Thunder Mountain monument in central Nevada, made from concrete and found items. The five-acre site is a tribute to Native Peoples of the West. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New CCSD superintendent Jesus F. Jara aims for 1st in the nation
On his third day as Clark County School District superintendent, Jesus F. Jara talks about his vision for the future during a visit to Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Ceremony Recognizes Refugee Students, Graduates
Rosy Mibulano, a graduate of Las Vegas High School who came to America from the Congo in 2015, was recognized in a ceremony for refugee students in Clark County. Like many other students relocated to Las Vegas from countries around the world, Rosy had a challenging high school experience, from learning English to adjusting to American customs and taking care of her family. On top of that, she wants to go to school to become a nurse so she can take care of her mother, who suffers from diabetes. The annual Refugee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the enormous lengths these young adults go through to create a new life for themselves. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like