GLYNN COUNTY, Fla. — Dozens of locals head out to the St. Simons Island pier and watch the boats coming in each day in and out of the port of Brunswick.
On Sunday morning, this normally quiet little pier was greeted by a very different sight.
"To see it on its side, it was just so big, so surprising, and there's just a huge crowd down here," Cindy Diangelo said.
Bill Lennox lives in Brunswick, and he says he's never seen anything like this.
"It's pretty unusual to see a ship of this size to be sitting on its side out here in St. Simons Sound," Lennox said.
Bruce Jackson was on the pier around 6 a.m. when he spotted firetrucks, police cars and a massive cargo ship on its side.
"This is a disaster," Jackson said.
Jackson watched the rescue operation unfold as Coast Guard crews scrambled to save people on board the Golden Ray.
"Tug boats, Sea Tow, numerous boats were out," Jackson said.
He showed Action News Jax reporter Alicia Tarancon a photo of smoke coming from the ship and The Coast Guard told us there was a fire on board during the rescue mission.
People crowded around the pier, all eager to get a better look at the listing vessel.
"This don't never happen ever, so this is pretty big for this island," Jackson said.
Beach goers have been advised not to wade or swim in the ocean on St. Simons and Jekyll Islands until the Georgia Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources conducts testing to measure environmental impacts.
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