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Carnival cruise ship spots El Faro debris, passengers say

Coast Guard finds 1 crew member dead in survival suit

Carnival Conquest passengers look out at the water after crew members announce that El Faro debris was spotted.
Carnival Conquest passengers look out at the water after crew members announce that El Faro debris was spotted. (Courtesy: Linda Vasquez)

MIAMI – Crew members aboard the Carnival Conquest, which is headed to Grand Turk Island, spotted debris believed to be from a missing cargo ship that disappeared last week in the path of Hurricane Joaquin, multiple passengers told Local 10 News.

According to passenger Linda Vazquez, two announcements were made Monday night notifying passengers that the ship was slowing down because there was a sighting of debris from El Faro.

Vazquez said some passengers said they could see debris in the water.

"The ship came across some debris and this information was reported to U.S. Coast Guard, but we are not aware of any confirmation that the debris belonged to the El Faro ship," Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen told Local 10 News.

Coast Guard officials said they have not determined whether the debris spotted from the Carnival ship belongs to El Faro.

Earlier Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said it believed that the 735-foot cargo ship, which was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, had sunk.

A body was found inside a survival suit.

Capt. Mark Fedor said he believes that any possible survivors would have drifted to the north. The area where the ship is believed to have sunk was 15,000 feet deep.

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

Among items found in a 225-square-mile debris field Monday were a heavily damaged life boat, life vests, Styrofoam and wood, among other items.

Fedor said that if the crew abandoned ship on Thursday, they would have encountered Category 4-force conditions.


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