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Rescuers contact crew members trapped inside capsized cargo ship

The 200-metre vessel overturned on Sunday and is now visible from the shoreline in Georgia.

Smoke rising from the overturned vessel in the US.
Smoke rising from the overturned vessel in the US.
Image: Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

Updated Sep 9th 2019, 7:23 PM

CONTACT HAS BEEN made with four crew members trapped inside a cargo ship that overturned and caught fire in the United States.

The flames and smoke had prevented the rescuers from safely accessing the unstable vessel, the US Coast Guard said earlier today. 

The Coast Guard said it had now made contact with the four trapped crew members today and a rescue effort was underway.

“Response crews will drill a hole to deliver supplies,” the Coast Guard said in a statement on Twitter. “@USCG and salvage crews are developing an extraction plan to safely rescue the 4 #GoldenRay crew members.

“This is a slow, but safe process,” the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard Captain John Reed said 20 people were safely evacuated from the ship before rescuers determined the smoke, flames and unstable cargo made it too risky to venture further inside.

georgia-cargo-ship Sunbathers with the overturned ship in the background. Source: AP

The 200-metre vehicle carrier is now stuck in the shipping channel, its hull exposed and its deck empty in full view of people on the shoreline.

Coast Guard Station Brunwick Commander Justin Irwin said they heard tapping from locations coming from inside the vessel, and that Coast Guard members were tapping back on the hull of the ship. 

Rescued crew members had been helping the Coast Guard focus the search for their four missing mates.

georgia-cargo-ship Overturned cargo ship. Source: AP

The Coast Guard was notified of the capsized vessel from a 911 call at about 2am on Sunday.

The cause remains under investigation. 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.

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