Search continues for missing crew members on cargo ship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Crews worked to save crew members from a cargo ship. Twenty have been saved, but the other four are still missing. 

"Takes all the steam out of me to look at one of our vessels laying like this," said James Mitchell, a retired long-shoreman. 

Mitchell worked aboard a ship like the one being rescued for 40 years. He just retired last week and was shocked to see this.

"I’ve seen them in passing on this ship because we’re all doing a job. Sometimes we get familiar with them," said Mitchell. 

The Coast Guard says around 2 a.m. it received an urgent call for help after the ship, called The Golden Ray, caught fire and rolled onto its side. It’s still unclear what caused the fire.

"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," said John Reed, a commander in the Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard says the fire was coming off the starboard side, which appeared to be in the area of the cargo.

The ship is a roll-on, roll-off ship used to transport vehicles. There were 4,200 vehicles aboard the ship when it capsized. Several agencies, including the port partners, are working with the Coast Guard to search for the missing crew members. 

The Coast Guard tells us it’s a complex mission to keep others safe while searching for those still missing

"We’re going to keep praying, and that’s all we can do. As long as it’s hope it’s a chance," said Mitchell. 

The ship was expected in Baltimore tomorrow.