On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years and the death of all the mariners aboard. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now.In INTO THE RAGING SEA: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm and the Sinking of El Faro (Ecco; On Sale May 1, 2018) journalist Rachel Slade offers a nail biting account of El Faro’s final hours, the coast guard’s attempted search and rescue, the ensuing federal investigation and the destructive forces of globalization and climate change that put the ship in harm’s way.
Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s voice data recorder—Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out their captain’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America’s aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.
Robert Frump, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Until the Sea Shall Free Them said INTO THE RAGING SEA is “the one account I’ve read that solves the riddle of El Faro convincingly and thoroughly. Rachel Slade mashes up The Perfect Storm with a suspenseful, page-turning thriller, cutting through the corporate double-speak to shine a light on how it was that thirty-three men and women sailed into Hurricane Joaquin. Superbly written, this deserves a place on the bookshelf of modern maritime classics. Even those who have followed El Faro closely will find major surprises here.”
Press Release: Rachel Slade