GA family holds out hope for missing El Faro crew members

GA family holds out hope for missing El Faro crew members

BUENA VISTA, GA (WTVM) - It's been nine days too long and there's been no word of several mariners and their missing cargo ship.

Family members in Buena Vista, Georgia of two of the crew members aboard the "El Faro" says they're never giving up hope.

Aunts, uncles, and cousins of Jackie Jones Jr. and James Porter are waiting for an answers and holding on to hope the two men will somehow be alive.

"I got kind of emotional every day. I had to stop reading because just to think about your relatives that they are not coming back home. It was devastating to me," said cousin Debra Graham.

"I just kept watching and wondering was everything going to be alright. I just kept praying," said aunt Irene Minter.

Jones, 38, and Porter, 40, were two of the 33 crew members on the cargo ship El Faro that left from Jacksonville, Florida the night of Tuesday, September 29.

Sailing towards Puerto Rico, the ship disappeared near the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard believes the boat sank as it got caught up in the path of Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic.

"They've encountered bad weather before and maneuvered their way through because they been on this ship for 20 years," said Graham.

Jones and Porter are from Jacksonville. Their extended family in Buena Vista, Georgia are constantly checking for updates on their relatives.

"I just keep calling. I'm the one that stays on the phone and stay in touch and let the whole family know what's going on," said Minter.

Debra Graham, the older cousin of the two men, is more familiar with James Porter.

"He was a lot of fun and he was a hard worker and they say he enjoyed being on that ship," said Graham.

The last signal from the ship was October 1. Officials have pulled some debris from the water, but no ship or survivors yet.

"I was looking forward to seeing them come to Buena Vista again," Minter said.

The family in Buena Vista says they plan to attend a vigil for the two men in Jacksonville, FL once it's planned. The Coast Guard stopped the search for the 33 El Faro crew members late Wednesday.

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