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Coast Guard report: Captain's errors led to 'El Faro' sinking

Published:Monday | October 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The Coast Guard says the primary cause of the sinking of a cargo ship two years ago that killed all 33 aboard was the captain misreading both the strength of a hurricane and his overestimation of the ship's strength.

The Coast Guard report, released Sunday, makes recommendations stemming from the October 1, 2015 sinking of the El Faro, a 790-foot (240-metre) vessel that went down near The Bahamas when Captain Michael Davidson tried to cut through Hurricane Joaquin. The Jacksonville, Florida-based ship was headed to Puerto Rico.

Voice recordings recovered from the ship show an increasingly panicked and stressed crew fighting to save the ship after it lost propulsion as they battled wind, shifting cargo and waves.

Davidson ordered the ship abandoned shortly before it sank.