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East Rockaway Native Was Among Those Who Vanished On El Faro Ship In Bahamas

EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- U.S. Coast Guard searchers recovered more wreckage Tuesday from El Faro – the U.S.-owned cargo ship that sank last week in the Bahamas – and some of those onboard have local ties.

The container ship sank during Hurricane Joaquin. It is believed to have gone down in 15,000 feet of water after reporting its last known position Thursday.

One unidentified body in a survival suit was spotted, CBS News reported.

Five days later, pieces of wreckage continued to turn up as the Coast Guard widened its search pattern for the lost cargo ship and its crew. Hope was fading.

"I'd like to hope," said Maureen DiGuillo of East Rockaway, Long Island. "I'd like to hope that there's a chance but I don't know. I just don't know. It's a long time."

Howard Schoenly – one of 33 souls onboard the ship when it vanished – grew up in East Rockaway in a house facing the water. DiGuillo started an online prayer circle for the lost mariner.

But a deepening dread was setting in – so much that it was hard to speak of out loud.

The Schoenly family moved away in the early 1980s. But East Rockaway is the kind of place where many people stay put, and many there remember Howard Schoenly and his love of the water.

"Him being out in the water -- that was his life. It's sad to see him go," said Frank Ferraro of East Rockaway. "Like I said, everybody knows each other in East Rockaway."

Waiting at his home in Florida, Schoenly's wife of 20 years issued a statement to his supporters and friends.

"He took great pride in being a merchant marine and his work as second engineer. He was the most vibrant, colorful person; so full of life. To imagine such a life gone is unbearable," Karen Schoenly said in the statement.

Safety investigators late Tuesday were looking into why the ship's captain, Michael Davidson, chose a route to Puerto Rico that passed so close to the storm.

The vessel's owners said the engine room was being prepared for a retrofitting, but do not know if that is why it lost power at such a crucial time.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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