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3 of 4 crewman trapped aboard a burning capsized cargo ship are RESCUED

Three of the four crewman trapped aboard a burning capsized cargo ship are RESCUED
Denton Staff Contributor — November 28, 2019

The smile that says ‘I‘m safe!‘: One of the three cargo ship crewmen rescued after 35 hours in burning, capsized vessel that reached temperatures of 120F beams as he‘s rescued – while US Coast Guard works to free a fourth man stuck behind glass

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has rescued three of the four trapped crew members from an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia, while the fourth remains stuck behind glass in the engine room.

Lt. Lloyd Heflin 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 35 hours.

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.

Scroll down for video.

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.‘

It‘s understood the third crew member was being treated by emergency medical services.

The fourth crew member remains on board and rescue crews are trying to find a way to get him out. 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 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.

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 Golden Ray is flagged out of the Marshall Islands and was headed to Baltimore, according to the website vesselfinder.

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.