JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The family of a crew member presumed drowned in the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship have sued the owners of the vessel for $100 million.
The family believes the ship should not have been sent from Jacksonville, Fla. on Sept. 29 to San Juan, Puerto Rico, into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm.
The ship disappeared two days into the voyage. The U.S. Coast Guard concluded it likely sank after the captain radioed tat the ship had lost power near Crooked Island, Bahamas. A five-day search of the area, yielded debris and one victim who was aboard the El Faro. The search was suspended Oct. 7.
A lawyer for the family of Lonnie Jordan, 33, one of the 33 people aboard the ship and presumed drowned, announced the lawsuit at the Doral County Courthouse. The lawsuit names TOTE Services Inc. and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, owners of the 790-foot cargo ship El Faro, and ship captain Michael Davidson as defendants.
"As I talk to the families who are still struggling to understand why this happened, they are wracked with grief," lawyer Willie E. Gary said. "This company placed more emphasis on profits than the safety of those on board this ship and as a result, lives have been lost."
The National Transportation Safety Board is still conducting the initial part of its investigation in Jacksonville.