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Hurricane sank U.S. cargo ship; one body recovered

U.S. Coast Guard officials announced Monday that Hurricane Joaquin had sunk the American cargo ship that went missing near Crooked Island in the Bahamas last week.

Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor said search and rescue teams have located one body of the 33 people known to be aboard the 790-foot vessel El Faro. The vessel was carrying 28 Americans and five Polish citizens.

Crews resumed their search for survivors Monday, a day after finding debris, including life jackets, various containers and an oil sheen, in the water nearby El Faro’s last known position on Thursday. It’s unclear if all the multiple objects belonged to the vessel. On Saturday, a life ring with the ship’s name on it was found.

U.S. Coast Guard members retrieve a life preserver ring from the cargo ship El Faro in this still image from a Oct. 4, 2015 U.S. Coast Guard handout video. Image courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

U.S. Coast Guard members retrieve a life preserver ring from the cargo ship El Faro in this still image from a Oct. 4, 2015 U.S. Coast Guard handout video. Image courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

Fedor said aircrews have searched more than 70,000 square nautical miles on Sunday, after weather conditions improved.

“We are not going to discount somebody’s will to survive, and that is why we are still searching today,” he said.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, the owner of the vessel, said in a statement that it lost contact with El Faro at 7:20 a.m. EDT Thursday. The ship was headed toward San Juan, Puerto Rico, after it had departed Jacksonville, Florida on Sept. 29.

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