El Faro Captain Planned to ‘Shoot Under’ Storm

El Faro

Debris field of the El Faro

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A pilot who spoke with the captain of the doomed freighter El Faro says just before the ship’s final voyage that the captain was aware of a storm brewing at sea, but that he had a plan to go under it.

Eric Bryson is the pilot who sailed the El Faro out of the Port of Jacksonville on its final voyage. He testified Monday before the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates Keith Griffin and Jeffrey Mathias were among those who died.

Bryson said he remembered no irregularities with the 790-foot cargo ship, and that its crew was acting normally as it prepared to sail Sept. 29 to Puerto Rico.

Before he disembarked, Bryson says El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson told him he was aware that the storm that would later become Hurricane Joaquin. Bryson said Davidson was “going to go out and shoot under it.”

The El Faro sank Oct. 1 after losing propulsion and getting caught in the storm. All 33 aboard died.

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