All crew members trapped inside capsized cargo ship are alive: Coast Guard

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A cargo ship caught fire and overturned in the St. Simons Sound off Brunswick, Ga., Sept. 8, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard)

All four crew members still trapped inside the Golden Ray, the cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia, are alive, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Rescue crews made contact with the crew on Monday morning and have drilled a hole into the ship to provide air supply and water, Coast Guard Lt. Lloyd Heflin told ABC News.

The Coast Guard and salvage crews are developing a plan to safely extract them, officials said. Their condition are unknown.

Four people were unaccounted for after the 656-foot vessel caught fire and overturned on the St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, around 2 a.m. Sunday. Twenty people were safely removed on Sunday, officials said.

Heflin told The Associated Press that the contact was made after rescuers rappelled down the side of the ship, adding that “the early indication is they are on board and OK.”

The rescue team previously heard tapping noises from inside the ship, AP reported.

Those on board included 23 crew members, who are all are from South Korea, and a harbor pilot from the Port of Brunswick, according to the Coast Guard. The four crew members who remained were last known to be inside the engine room, officials said.

Black smoke could be seen emitting from the starboard side of the ship from shore after it caught fire, officials said. The smoke had subsided by Sunday afternoon, but it was still too dangerous to go inside, as crews hadn’t determined whether the fire had yet subsided on the ship’s interior.

PHOTO: In this photo provided by Tara Jones, a capsized cargo ship is seen near a port on the Georgia coast, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019.
In this photo provided by Tara Jones, a capsized cargo ship is seen near a port on the Georgia coast, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019.

The vessel, which was carrying vehicles on its way to Baltimore, is still listing heavily on the water. The cause remains under investigation.

The Port of Brunswick, one of the busiest in the nation, was closed for the rescue efforts, and vessels were not permitted within half a mile of the ship.

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