By Owen Davidson
The U.S. Coast Guard began efforts to rescue crew members cargo ship called the Golden Ray after it capsized Sept. 8, according to CNN. The 656-foot ship was headed toward Baltimore, Maryland, before it caught fire and capsized, according to USA Today.
USA Today reported that the Coast Guard responded with ships and two helicopters after an “‘urgent marine information broadcast’” was sent out, officials said. Additionally, first responders and towing groups assisted in the effort to rescue the ships 24 inhabitants. The ship’s command and chief engineer also assisted in getting the ship stabilized.
The Coast Guard tweeted on Sept. 9, saying that all members of the ship’s crew were rescued, which came after four crew members were stuck in the hull of the ship since it first capsized, according to NBC.
Coast Guard Capt. John Reed told NBC that one of the four rescued was stuck behind glass, “enclosed in the engineering control room” and did not have access to “fresh water or food.”
According to The Associated Press, the Coast Guard “moved in quickly” to rescue 20 of the ship’s crew members, but slowed down due to concerns about fire instability concerning the remaining four still trapped. The Coast Guard called in “private salvage specialists” to assist in the final rescues.
“‘They survived a ship’s fire, a ship capsizing, landing on the side 90-degrees in an engine room, not knowing what the conditions were in pitch black darkness,’” said Tim Ferris, the president of the salvage company Defiant Marine, according to The Associated Press.
He also said that as the daytime’s temperature was in the 90s, with the inside of the ship approached 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to The Associated Press, rescuing the final sailor trapped was much more difficult than the previous three. His placement required a 40-foot climb.
According to CNN, the cause of the incident is still under investigation. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Glynn County Fire Department are assisting in the investigation.
Pollution was a major concern after the incident. According to The Associated Press, Coast Guard Commander Norm Witt said that mitigation efforts were put into action.
“‘There is pollution,’” Witt said at a news conference on Sept. 10, according to The Associated Press. “‘Right now it’s limited in scope.’”
Witt also stated that having a large ship laying on its side “‘poses a significant pollution threat.’”