UPDATE: Fourth crew member found, rescued from inside overturned cargo ship

National News

UPDATE: 6:10 p.m.

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia (all times local):

The fourth and last crew member trapped inside a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia has been rescued.

Coast Guard Lt. Lloyd Heflin told The Associated Press in a text message that the South Korean crew member was rescued just before 6 p.m. Monday.

He says the crew member appears to be in good medical condition but is being evaluated.

Three other crew members were rescued earlier Monday from the Golden Ray.

ORIGINAL STORY: 4 p.m.

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia (all times local):

U.S. Coast Guard officials say they have rescued three of four crew members from an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia, but they’re still working on a plan to rescue a fourth crew member trapped on another deck.

Capt. John Reed says at least two of the South Korean men who were extracted from a hole drilled in the hull of Golden Ray were able to walk with assistance down to a waiting boat. All three are being examined by medical personnel.

Reed says the three men have seen the fourth person, who is trapped behind glass in the ship’s engineering compartment. He says marine engineers are working on a plan to get him out.

The rescue came 36 hours after the Golden Ray flipped onto its side and caught fire Sunday as it left Brunswick, Georgia, with more than 4,000 vehicles inside.

Original Story:

The United States Coast Guard has made contact with crew members inside the Golden Ray. Conditions of the crew members are unknown, and extraction is being planned.

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — A rescue team has heard noises from inside a cargo ship where four crew members are missing after their huge vessel overturned and caught fire, but the flames and smoke have so far prevented the rescuers from safely penetrating the unstable vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

“They heard noises, but we can’t confirm that it’s signs of life,” Petty Officer 3rd class Ryan Dickinson told The Associated Press on Monday morning. “We can’t confirm that without going in and looking, but they did hear sounds.”

A Coast Guard helicopter was able to land on the side of the ship Monday as part of the rescue effort.

The Golden Ray listed heavily and then rolled over on its side early Sunday in St. Simons Sound as it left the Port of Brunswick with a pilot and 23 crew members, bound for Baltimore with a load of cars.

Coast Guard Capt. John Reed said 20 were safely evacuated from the ship before rescuers determined the smoke and flames and unstable cargo made it too risky to venture further inside. The 656-foot (200-meter) vehicle carrier is now stuck in the shipping channel, its hull exposed and its deck empty, in view of beachgoers on the shoreline.

Dickinson sought Monday to clarify comments Coast Guard Station Brunwick Commander Justin Irwin made to The Brunswick News on Sunday. Irwin said they heard tapping from locations coming from inside the vessel, and that Coast Guard members were tapping back on the Golden Ray’s hull to let them know they are not forgotten.

“We don’t know if it is all four of them, but there has to be something in there tapping back at us,” Irwin said then. “We are going to go at it tomorrow and try to find them.”

Dickinson said the Brunswick commander “has a positive mindset, which is something we all have.”

Rescued crew members have been helping the Coast Guard focus the search for their four missing mates, he added.

“It is our understanding that they are inside the vessel. We’ve had crews talking with the crew of the Golden Ray, trying to hone on in the best place to search,” Dickinson said.

Reed told a news conference Sunday afternoon that the Coast Guard was trying to determine if it’s safe to get inside.

“Once salvage professionals have determined the vessel to be stable, we will identify the best option to continue our rescue efforts for the four crew members who remain on board,” Reed said.

The Coast Guard said it was notified of the capsized vessel by a 911 call at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The cause remains under investigation. Dickinson said it isn’t clear if weather conditions caused the ship to lurch. Hurricane Dorian was already well beyond the Georgia coast, where it blew past last week before being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.

The Coast Guard said the overturned ship hasn’t released any pollutants so far, but mitigation responses are ready in case they’re needed.

The Golden Ray is flagged out of the Marshall Islands and was headed to Baltimore, according to the website vesselfinder.com. The ship’s registered owner is Hyundai Glovis, a South Korean company.

The Port of Brunswick, one of the busiest U.S. seaports for shipping automobiles, is currently closed to vessel traffic, with an established emergency safety zone in St. Simons Sound. Vessels are not authorized within a half mile of the Golden Ray. Nearly 614,000 vehicles and heavy machinery units moved across its docks in the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.

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