For Doomed El Faro Crew, Concern Turned Into Paralyzing Panic 

This undated image made from a video and released Tuesday, April 26, 2016, by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the stern of the sunken ship El Faro. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Transcripts show that crew members aboard a doomed cargo ship expressed increasingly dire concern as a hurricane gained strength.

It culminated in one crewman lamenting “I’m a goner” as they scrambled to abandon the listing ship.

The 500 pages of transcripts, which were released Tuesday, provide a new glimpse at the final hours for the crew of 33, all of whom died when El Faro sank in October 2015.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates Keith Griffin, 33, and Jeffrey Mathias, 44, were working on the ship.

Some of those on board questioned the captain’s decision to sail closer to Hurricane Joaquin, which took an erratic path as it swirled in the Atlantic.

Audio recovered last summer from the ship’s resting place 15,000 feet deep near the Bahamas recorded conversations on the ship’s bridge, along with weather and positioning data.

The El Faro’s data recorder shows that the doomed ship’s captain urged a frightened crew member to move quickly to abandon ship in the vessel’s final moments.

The recordings transcribed from the ship’s voyage data recorder were released Tuesday morning by the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C.

The 790-foot freighter sank in October 2015 during Hurricane Joaquin after losing propulsion between Jacksonville, Florida, and Puerto Rico. All 33 people on board died.

The more than 500-page transcript sheds light on decisions by Capt. Michael Davidson to try to sail south of Hurricane Joaquin instead of taking a longer, safer route.

It also revealed the captain believed he needed to consult with Tote Maritime officials before taking a longer, safer course home, something the company has disputed.


About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy