31 Americans among the crew on cargo ship missing in Hurricane Joaquin Search under way for container ship caught in hurricane The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a lost cargo ship with 33 people aboard, including 31 Americans, as Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin slams the Bahamas. Officials said the 735-foot ship, known as El Faro, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. They said they received notification that the ship had lost power around 7 a.m. ET Thursday near Crooked Island in the eastern Bahamas, one of the islands most battered by the storm. The Coast Guard said the crew told officials the ship had taken on water but that they eventually contained the flooding, Fox30 reported. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families," TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico said in a statement. Captain Mark Fedor, chief of response for the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami, told Fox News the vessel was very close to the eye of Joaquin when the power cut out. Two Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter aircrews tried to locate and reestablish communications with the El Faro unsuccessfully Thursday. Coast Guard crews remain on scene and will continue search efforts Friday by both air and sea. Fedor said the C-130's were flying over the area at an altitude of 2,000 feet, much lower than the 10,000 feet at which Hurricane Hunter aircraft usually fly, in order to see through the heavy rains and sea spray as they search for the missing ship. "We're going to do the best we can during daylight hours," Fedor said of the search. Fedor said the El Faro was carrying 294 trailers and automobiles in its hold, in addition to the 391 shipping containers on-deck, as it battled 20 to 30 foot seas. "This is what we do... if there is potential of a life to save," Fedor said. Along with the 31 Americans, officials say two crew members are Polish citizens. Meantime, governors in five East Coast states have declared a state of emergency Friday as the coast prepares for potential torrential rain and severe flooding from Joaquin. The hurricane is unlikely to make direct landfall, but forecasters are warning of flash floods from historic Charleston, South Carolina, to Washington, D.C., and officials in Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are bracing for the worst. But the slow-moving storm continued to batter parts of the Bahamas, cutting communication to several islands, most of them lightly populated. There have been no reports of fatalities or injuries, Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency told the Associated Press. Residents reached by relatives said they were "trapped in their homes, and reported feeling as if their structures were caving in," Russell added. "It's too dangerous to go outside because the flood waters are so high, so we ask that persons stay inside and try to go into the most secure place of their home." Joaquin is packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reports. As of 11 a.m. EDT Friday, the storm was centered about 5 miles of Rum Cay and was moving north near 3 mph. Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 50 miles and a hurricane watch was in effect for Bimini and Andros Island.