AP

Rescuers Pull 4th And Final Crewman Alive From Cargo Ship

Sep 9, 2019, 5:01 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:02 pm
ST SIMONS ISLAND, GA - SEPTEMBER 09: Emergency responders work to rescue crew members from a capsiz...
ST SIMONS ISLAND, GA - SEPTEMBER 09: Emergency responders work to rescue crew members from a capsized cargo ship on September 9, 2019 in St Simons Island, Georgia. A 656-foot vehicle carrier, the M/V Golden Ray, departed the Brunswick port on Sunday and suffered a fire on board, capsizing in St. Simons Sound. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Coast Guard rescuers pulled four trapped men alive from a capsized cargo ship Monday, drilling into the hull’s steel plates to extract the crew members more than a day after their vessel overturned while leaving a Georgia port.

All four were reported as being alert and in relatively good condition and were taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

“Best day of my 16-year career,” Lieutenant Lloyd Heflin, who was coordinating the effort for the Coast Guard, wrote in a text message to The Associated Press.

Three of the South Korean crew members came out in the midafternoon. The fourth man, who was trapped in a separate compartment, emerged three hours later.

The rescues followed nearly 36 hours of work after the Golden Ray, a giant ship that carries automobiles, rolled onto its side early Sunday as it was leaving Brunswick, bound for Baltimore.

“All crew members are accounted for,” Coast Guard Southeast wrote on Twitter. “Operations will now shift fully to environmental protection, removing the vessel and resuming commerce.”

In the hours immediately after the accident, the Coast Guard lifted 20 crew members into helicopters before determining that smoke and flames and unstable cargo made it too risky to venture further inside the vessel. Officials were also concerned about the stability of the ship, which was carrying 4,000 vehicles, some of which may have broken loose.

That left responders looking for the remaining four crew members. At first, Reed said, rescuers were not sure whether the noises they were hearing inside were some of the vehicles crashing around. But by dawn Monday, they had grown confident that the taps were responses to their own taps, indicating someone was alive inside.

“It was outstanding when I heard the news this morning that we had taps back throughout the night,” Reed said, saying it helped lead rescuers to the right place on the 656-foot (200 meter) vessel, and provided motivation.

“They were charged up knowing the people were alive,” Reed said.

On Monday morning, rescuers landed on the side of the Golden Ray and rappelled down the hull. Heflin, who was coordinating the search, said they found three men in a room close to the propeller shaft, near the bottom of the stern. Responders began drilling, starting with a 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) hole. Coast Guard officials brought the ship’s chief engineer, who was rescued Sunday, out to the ship to translate, and found the three men were “on board and OK,” as Heflin put it.

Reed said rescuers passed food and water through the hole to the men. It also provided fresh air to the propeller room, which Reed said was even hotter than outside, where the high was 93 degrees (34 Celsius).

Responders set up a tent on the hull and began drilling additional holes, eventually making an opening large enough to insert a ladder and help the men climb out.

“It was like connect-the-dots,” Reed said of the hole, which grew to 2 feet by 3 feet (0.6 meters by 1 meter).

The fourth rescue was a greater challenge. Reed said that crewman was behind glass in a separate engineering compartment on another deck.

The Golden Ray is now stuck in the shipping channel, closing one of the busiest U.S. seaports for shipping automobiles. One ship is unable to leave port and four more are lined up outside waiting to come in, according to ship-tracking website Marine Traffic.

A statement issued Monday by the South Korea foreign ministry said the crew members were isolated in an engine room. It said 10 South Koreans and 13 Filipinos had been on board, along with a U.S. harbor pilot, when the ship began tilting.

Position records for the Golden Ray show the ship arrived in port in Brunswick Saturday evening after making the short sail from a prior stop in Jacksonville, Florida. The ship then departed the dock in Brunswick shortly after midnight and was underway only 23 minutes before its movement stopped in the mouth of the harbor where it capsized, according to satellite data recorded by Marine Traffic.

Port officials were “working closely with the Coast Guard to reopen the channel,” Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch said in a statement after the final man was rescued.

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

The cause of the capsizing remains under investigation. Marine Traffic shows the Golden Ray overturned as it was passed by another car carrier entering St. Simons Sound.

At the time, the skies were clear and the weather calm, with a southerly breeze of only 5 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service records.

Many of those rescued were taken to the International Seafarers’ Center in Brunswick. Sailors arrived with only what they were wearing when rescued. A restaurant donated a meal, and the volunteer-run center provided the seamen with clothes, toiletries and Bibles.

The vessel is owned by Hyundai Glovis, which carries cars for automakers Hyundai and Kia as well as others.

Nearly 614,000 vehicles and heavy machinery units moved across Brunswick’s docks in the 2019 fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

AP

FILE PHOTO - (Deseret News)...
Associated Press

Hundreds of cars pack Nevada streets for illegal stunts

Police in northern Nevada say thousands of people in hundreds of cars took over parking lots and intersections Friday night.
2 days ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC...
FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press

Archives: Records from Trump WH staffers remain missing

The National Archives has informed congressional lawmakers that a number of electronic communications from Trump White House staffers remain missing.
2 days ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a reception to celebrate the Jewish New Year with ...
MATTHEW LEE, FATIMA HUSSEIN and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden vows Russia won’t ‘get away with’ Ukraine annexation

The United States and its allies are hitting back at Russia’s annexation of four more Ukrainian regions, slapping sanctions on more than 1,000 Russian individuals and companies.
3 days ago
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Chief Justice John Roberts pause for...
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Justice Jackson makes Supreme Court debut in brief ceremony

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has made her first appearance on the Supreme Court bench in a brief courtroom ceremony three days before the start of the high court’s new term.
3 days ago
Rain from Hurricane Ian floods a street on September 30, 2022 in Charleston, South Carolina. Ian hi...
Meg Kinnard and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

Ian makes landfall again, this time in South Carolina

Hurricane Ian has made another landfall, this time in South Carolina, after carving a swath of destruction across Florida earlier this week.
3 days ago
President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during the 77th session of the United Nations General Ass...
Fatima Hussein, Associated Press

US hits Russia with sanctions for annexing Ukrainian regions

The U.S. has sanctioned more than 1,000 people and firms connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including its Central Bank governor and families of Security Council members.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Rescuers Pull 4th And Final Crewman Alive From Cargo Ship