The U.S. Coast guard revealed they have rescued the last of four trapped crew members from an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia,
The final male, who was trapped behind a glass wall, emerged from the vessel to applause and later paused to look at the sky before beaming as he was later led away by the team.
Lt. Lloyd Heflin who organized the rescue mission described it as the ‘Best day of my 16-year career,’ according to Associate Press.
He said the four South Koreans who were trapped aboard the Golden Ray were in the propeller shaft room near the stern of the ship and that rescuers cut into the hull there to pull them out after temperatures soared above 120F.
The Golden Ray rolled over Sunday in Georgia’s St. Simons Sound as it left for Baltimore, leaving the men trapped for more than 36 hours.
The final member of a four person crew aboard the Golden Ray cargo vessel was reached by rescuers on Monday. They had all be trapped inside the capsized vessel for in excess of 36 hours
The fourth crewman (above) smiled as he was led away after being saved by rescuers. Moments before the image he looked up into the sky as he beamed
Heflin said the initial rescue team faced a language barrier in communicating with the South Korean crew members.
Pictures taken Monday show one of those rescued smiling as crews took him to safety.
Capt. John Reed says at least two of the South Korean men who were extracted from a hole drilled in the hull were able to walk with assistance down to a waiting boat. One was pictured on a stretcher following his rescue.
Officials had earlier said noises were heard coming from inside The Golden Ray where the four crew were unaccounted for after the vessel overturned and caught fire on Sunday.
Flames and smoke had earlier prevented rescuers from safely penetrating the unstable 656-foot vehicle carrier and while the fire is now apparently out, the huge ship is listing at roughly 90 degrees, with more than 4,000 vehicles inside it.
Capt. John Reed said US Coast Guard rescuers had been tapping along the hull overnight, and eventually heard tapping from the inside, responding to them.
‘It was outstanding, when I heard there were tap backs, that really motivated the team,’ he said.
The rescuers managed to drill holes into the hull at that spot, and cut two foot by three foot hole.
The three rescued men were in the same space, in temperatures reaching more than 120F for 35 hours.
‘We were able tot get them food and fresh air’, Reed said. He added: ‘They’re relatively good, two were able to get themselves out.’
Coast Guard rescuers found four South Korean crew members trapped inside a cargo ship, by rappelling down the side and drilling a hole through the hull to contact them on Monday
Rescuers are now trying to figure out the safest way of getting the crew out
Coast Guard crews and port partners respond to an overturned cargo vessel with a fire on board Sunday in St. Simons Sound. Flames and smoke had prevented rescuers from safely entering the unstable vessel but the four missing crew members have now been found alive
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
Mechanical engineers worked to free the fourth crewman who was trapped behind glass in the ship’s engineering compartment. Here the third is being taken ashore by the team
Rescuers initially struggled to reach the fourth crew member on board. The US Coast Guard said he was ‘behind glass, enclosed in the engine room’.
The US Coast Guard said they were also working on salvage operations to remove the cargo ship.
‘It’s a dynamic situation, it’s outstanding news, but this is only one part of the rescue, there remains a lot of work to do. There are threats to the environment, people and economy’, Heflin said.
A South Korea foreign ministry statement said Monday that the crew members were alive and isolated inside 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 over.
Earlier footage, released by the Coast Guard, had shown how the Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew hoisted 20 crew members after the vessel started to list.
The clip, taken in the early hours of Monday, shows as two people are pulled to safety.
The Golden Ray rolled over as it left the Port of Brunswick with a load of cars for Baltimore.
Coast Guard Capt. John Reed had told CNN Sunday: ‘As smoke and flames began to appear our crews, along with the Glynn County heavy rescue team, assessed that the situation was too risky to further go inside the vessel to attempt to locate the four individuals who remain missing at this time.
‘But we are unable to determine specifically without going inside whether the fire has been completely extinguished.’
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Phillip VanderWeit said some of those rescued were either hoisted to safety by helicopter or lowered by fire hose into boats.
‘They heard noises, but we can’t confirm that it’s signs of life,’ Petty Officer 3rd class Ryan Dickinson said on Monday morning. ‘We can’t confirm that without going in and looking, but they did hear sounds.’
‘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.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
A Moran tugboat nears the stern of the vessel Golden Ray as it lays on its side as a tent and rescuers can be seen near the bottom of the ship near the tug boat
Footage shows the Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew hoist crew members from the Golden Ray after the vessel started to list. The clip, taken in the early hours on Monday morning, shows two people being pulled to safety
The Golden Ray rolled over early Sunday in St. Simons Sound as it left the Port of Brunswick with a load of cars for Baltimore. Coast Guard Capt. John Reed said 20 people were evacuated before the fires and unstable cargo made it too risky to go inside
People are shown on Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach as the Golden Ray cargo ship is capsized
Smoke rises from a cargo ship that capsized in the St. Simons Island, Georgia
Those already rescued were taken to safety at around 4am after the Coast Guard says it was notified by a 911 call at about 2am of a capsized vessel in the sound.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is looking into the incident.
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 ship, carrying vehicles, was being evacuated after sharply listing. The U.S. Coast Guard said the vessel was leaving Brunswick when it somehow turned drastically sideways
The four missing South Korean crew members are in the engine room of the ship, the country’s Foreign Ministry confirmed. The Coast Guard says it was notified by a 911 call at about 2am
The Golden Ray is flagged out of the Marshall Islands and was headed to Baltimore, according to the website vesselfinder.com.
The ship is owned by Hyundai Glovis, which carries cars for automakers Hyundai and Kia as well as others.
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.