El Faro Captain Said 'The Clock is Ticking' in Chilling Final Phone Call

PHOTO: The stern of the El Faro. PlayNational Transportation Safety Board
WATCH NTSB Releases Images of Missing Cargo Ship El Faro

The captain of the freighter El Faro warned that "the clock is ticking" in a chilling final phone call before the ship sank last fall, killing everyone on board.

El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson's phone calls were played today at an ongoing hearing broadcast by the Coast Guard. The hearings began Tuesday in an effort to determine why the ship sank near the Bahamas on Oct. 1, 2015, killing all 33 crew members.

"Oh man. The clock is ticking," Davidson says on a call to an emergency call center, after he was asked for his name, rank and how to spell the ship's name. A minute later, Davidson says, "I have a marine emergency."

Before Davidson called the emergency center, he left a message for a Tote Services ship operator, explaining that the ship took on water but that everybody was safe.

The El Faro sank in a storm while heading from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. Its remains were later discovered 15,000 feet deep in the Atlantic.

The Coast Guard's investigative board is made up of Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board members. The Coast Guard is expected to release a findings report after the hearings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.