GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - One of the 33 mariners aboard a U.S. container ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin grew up in Gwinnett County.
Sylvester Crawford was a member of the El Faro’s crew. The 790-foot commercial vessel went down in about 15,000 feet of water east of the Bahamas last Thursday after losing propulsion while attempting to outrun Joaquin along the ship's regular route from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico, according to ship owner Tote Maritime and the Coast Guard.
An intensive search by air and sea over tens of thousands of square miles turned up one unidentified body in a survival suit and a heavily damaged lifeboat but no sign of survivors. That search was suspended Wednesday, but investigators a hope to find the vessel's data recorder 3 miles down at the bottom of the sea which could give some insight into the ship’s location.
Friends and family are remembering Crawford as a great family man. Next-door neighbor Steve Long said his heart goes out to his wife and children.
"I would see him in the backyard playing with his kids. He was very good with his older son and his little boy 6. He would play ball. Oh, he was so nice and we would throw the ball back, " Long remembered.
Crawford was a 1993 graduate of Meadowcreek High School.
The Associated Press contributed to this article