Sunday, April 22, 2018

Into the Storm

Into the Storm by Tristram Korten
Random House Publishing Group: 4/24/18
eBook review copy; 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9781524797881

Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristram Korten is a very highly recommended nonfiction account of two doomed ships and a harrowing Coast Guard search-and-rescue operation.

An informative slow paced beginning sets the groundwork for the story. Korten opens up with an introduction to the brave, highly trained members of the Coast Guard on duty who would be pivotal in the search and rescue operations and a description of the two ships and their captains. The true story happened in late September/early October of 2015 when Hurricane Joaquin raged across the Caribbean. A pair of cargo vessels were in the path of this destructive storm. Captain Michael Davidson's ship was the El Faro, a 790-foot American behemoth with a crew of thirty-three, and Captain Renelo Gelera ship was the Minouche, a 230-foot freighter with a dozen sailors aboard.

After the ships leave port and the storm develops and subsequently changes course, the pace becomes more frantic.  The Coast Guard was informed that the Minouche was taking on water on the night of October 1. They worked in the dark through the raging storm, with rescue swimmer Ben Cournia in the sea loading survivors into the helicopter rescue basket. They manged to save the crew of the Minouche. The rescue mission for the El Faro was not successful and became the largest U.S. maritime disaster in decades.

This is an extremely well-researched and well-written account of the events during Hurricane Joaquin and the heroic efforts of the Coast Guard in their search and rescue mission.  A tension filled nail biter that is a true life thriller.  Into the Storm includes maps, notes, and an index. (Korten's online GQ article about the hurricane includes photos of the men involved and visual information that may be included in the book but wasn't in my review copy.)

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House Publishing Group.

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