The crew aboard the capsized Golden Ray was freed off the coast of the US state of Georgia after 36 hours of rescue efforts. The enormous vessel had been carrying 4,000 cars.
The US Coast Guard rescued the remaining four South Korean crew members trapped inside a capsized cargo ship near the state of Georgia late on Monday. The last men to be rescued meant all 24 people who had been aboard the Golden Ray were brought to safety.
"Best day of my 16-year career," said coordinating officer Lt. Lloyd Heflin in a statement to The Associated Press.
"All crew members are accounted for," Coast Guard Southeast wrote on Twitter. "Operations will now shift fully to environmental protection, removing the vessel and resuming commerce."
The final rescues came after 36 hours of work on the capsized ship, a massive vessel that was carrying some 4,000 automobiles from Brunswick, Georgia, to Baltimore, Maryland.
Initially, the Coast Guard was able to use a helicopter to bring 20 crew members to safety, but the remaining four were trapped in two separate compartments inside the ship.
At first, the rescue services had to ascertain whether they were hearing cars roll around inside the ship or if the tapping they were hearing was coming from people trapped inside the Golden Ray.
While working on an escape plan, officers were able to pass food and water to the men.
The cause of the capsize is currently under investigation, as weather conditions were not adverse at the time of the incident.
es/stb (AP, Reuters)