Missing Virginia man’s family pleads with officials to continue El Faro search

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-08 06:16:08-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - The Coast Guard announced Tuesday afternoon they are calling off the search for crew members from the missing cargo ship El Faro.

A Virginia Beach family told NewsChannel 3 their loved one was onboard, and now they are pleading with the government to continue to search.

“I need to know where he is or I need to know the people are at least looking for him,” said Emily Pusatere.  She said she believes Richard or the other 32 crew members who were onboard could still be alive.

"If there is even a small chance by God's will that one person made it to one of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, I want to know that that person has a chance of being found and brought home. Our families need some type of answers. I need some type of closure and I believe in miracles.”

El Faro got caught in Hurricane Joaquin on Thursday after trying to sail from Florida to Puerto Rico.

The Coast Guard searched 172, 000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean over the last six days.

They’ve found debris, a life raft, and remains of one person – but so far no ship or survivors.

The search ends at sunset Tuesday night.

"I believe that if we get sent so many assets to look for a Malaysian plane out in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, than we can send a lot of assets to look for Americans and Polish persons on an American vessel close to American shores. They haven't found the ship and the four remaining life rafts or the remaining lifeboats. I can't help but believe there's a possibility that they are out there.”

Richard moved to Virginia Beach in 2007. His father, Frank Pusatere, said he grew up in New York and had a passion for his work.

"He loved his job and so did a lot of his colleagues, too. I think he had some positive inspiration for the people that he worked next to. I'm with them because if they could see someone that passionate for their job and also caring as a supervisor," said Frank Pusatere.

"He is a wonderful father and the best teammate I've ever had. He pushes me, we drive each other absolutely nuts, but it's a good nuts and makes us both better people. He brings out the best of me. The only reason I'm holding myself together because I'm driven to find him that's the only thing that's driving me right now and the fact that my daughter needs me and that my husband needs me to find him. He's an amazing father, he's my best friend and he's my home and nothing works right without him."

Emily said she feared pirates when her husband was traveling out to sea, not the weather. Now she said they’re reaching out to lawmakers and pleading with the U.S. government to continue looking for her husband and all the others who are missing.