Widow brings only personal item recovered from El Faro to investigative hearing

Families of El Faro "are a family"

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (NEWS CENTER) - Today, at the El Faro hearing in Jacksonville, the most emotional moment so far, as a family member brought in the only personal item ever recovered from the sunken ship.

It was a helmet belonging to a crew member that washed ashore. 

The El Faro sank off the coast of the Bahamas on October 1st 2015. Ten months later a woman found a green helmet on Ormand Beach, about two hours south of Jacksonville.

“She looked up the El Faro families and that’s how she found me. Frank wrote his name on the front and the back. It was a touching thing, me and the kids drove down to get it from her", said Rochelle Hamm, widow of crew man Frank Hamm. 

The helmet had the name Frank written on it. Only one crew member on board the ship had that name, Frank Hamm. The woman who found it contacted Frank’s widow Rochelle through Facebook. It is the only item belonging to an El Faro crew member that has been found. Rochelle Hamm brought it to today’s hearing so she could share it with other family members.

“It’s difficult for me because when I got it I put it in a bag and I didn’t even think about the rest of the families. So it’s a miracle for all of us as a whole. My plans are to put inside of a case. It at least gives them something to see also, because we’re a family now”, she said referring to the other families that have gathered in Jacksonville for the hearings.

It's unclear the exact distance the helmet traveled, but it’s more than 600-miles from where the wreckage of the El Faro rests off the Crooked Islands near the Bahamas to that Florida shoreline, just North of Daytona Beach.

Copyright 2017 WCSH


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