Hurricane Joaquin sank a modern cargo ship in the same general area. That was incredible and unprecedented as well as tragic.
An American cargo ship—the 791 ft (241 m) El Faro—went missing near Crooked Island with 33 crew members (28 Americans and 5 Poles) amid 20 to 30 ft (6.1 to 9.1 m) seas near the hurricane's eyewall. The vessel was last reported to have lost propulsion and begun to list around 7:30 a.m. local time on October 1. Hurricane Hunters aircraft investigating the storm flew much lower than normal in an unsuccessful effort to locate the stricken ship. The United States Coast Guard conducted searches during the day of October 2 without success; efforts resumed at dawn on October 3. On October 3, a lifebuoy from El Faro was recovered about 75 mi (121 km) northeast of the ship's last known position. Floating containers and "deck objects" were discovered by the Coast Guard on the next morning, and oil sheen was noted in the area, though it was not conclusively linked to the missing vessel. A 225 sq mi (580 km2) debris field consisting of wood, cargo, styrofoam, and other objects was discovered that afternoon. The joint mission conducted by the Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, and Air National Guard covered more than 242,000 sq mi (630,000 km2) in search of the vessel and its crew. The Coast Guard called off search operations at sunset on October 7, with the ship and her crew presumed lost. One body, presumed to be from the El Faro, was recovered. A Navy salvage team was requested, at the behest of the National Transportation Safety Board, to search for the wreckage.