We think it is safe to say that the events of the last two days surrounding the Golden Ray cargo ship will not be forgotten anytime soon in the Golden Isles.
For those of you who have incredible news dodging skills, the Golden Ray was on its way out of the Port of Brunswick and heading out to sea early Sunday morning when it overturned in the St. Simons Sound in-between St. Simons and Jekyll islands.
Rescue crews were able to save 20 of the 24 crew members on board in the immediate aftermath but had to call off their search for the remaining members as a fire on the ship made for a tenuous situation.
The fire eventually died down, but it took several anxious hours before U.S. Coast Guard officials were able to have rudimentary contact with the missing crewmen through tapping on the hull of the boat.
The situation turned for the better Monday morning and afternoon as Coast Guard members drilled two separate holes — one small hole for a camera to check on the men and a bigger whole to get food, water and other supplies to the men.
Unfortunately, the remaining four men weren’t located together. Three men were rescued by 3 p.m. Monday. They were the ones who the Coast Guard was able to get food and water too.
At their 3:30 p.m. press conference announcing that the three men had been rescued, Coast Guard officials were optimistic that they would have more good news to deliver on the final survivor. That would come around 6 p.m. Monday with news that he also had been rescued from the Golden Ray.
This event is truly something that will be talked about in the Golden Isles for years to come. People flocked to the Pier Village Sunday and Monday to watch as rescuers worked to free the men trapped in the ship.
Those that came out to see it, and those who didn’t, will tell stories for decades about the day the Golden Ray overturned in the St. Simons Sound. The best thing about those stories will be that all 24 crew members lived to also tell their stories.
We cannot heap enough praise on the Coast Guard for putting up a tremendous rescue operation. The Coast Guard was on point quickly and worked tirelessly until all the crew members were safe.
Now that all four crewmen have been rescued, there are other issues that will come to the forefront. The Golden Ray still has to be salvaged from the channel. There are legitimate environmental concerns about fuel and oil leaking out into the sound that must be addressed. There is also the economical impact the incident could have on the Port of Brunswick.
But before we worry too much about what’s next, let’s take a moment to celebrate everyone who contributed to helping save the lives of all the crew members that were in danger. Their efforts will never be forgotten in the Golden Isles.