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Cargo ship, 33 crew members caught in Hurricane Joaquin's path missing

Coast Guard hasn't made contact with El Faro crew members since Thursday morning

This U.S. Coast Guard plane is being used in the search for a missing cargo ship.
This U.S. Coast Guard plane is being used in the search for a missing cargo ship. (U.S. Coast Guard)

MIAMI – A cargo ship from Jacksonville that was supposed to arrive in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday morning is missing after its crew reported that it was caught in the path of Hurricane Joaquin.

El Faro, a 735-foot cargo ship, was en route to Puerto Rico when the U.S. Coast Guard received notice that it had become disabled, Capt. Mark Fedor said.

The Coast Guard hasn't made contact with anyone on the ship since Thursday morning.

RELATED: Tracking information on El Faro

Fedor said a C-130 Hercules Coast Guard plane has been flying low to the water in search of the ship.

"They're flying down at 2,000 feet, which is pushing -- absolutely pushing -- the operational envelope of what they're supposed to fly," Fedor said.

Fedor said 28 of the 33 crew members on board are U.S. citizens, and five others are Polish nationals.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, which owns the ship, said it lost contact with El Faro as of 7:20 a.m. Thursday.

The Coast Guard suspended its search Friday night but planned to resume the search Saturday morning.

"We are going to continue to be aggressive and try to get near that vessel's last known position," Fedor said.

El Faro means "the lighthouse" in Spanish. Family members of the crew are hoping there is some light at the end of the storm.

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