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First Coast Connect

2/20/2017: El Faro; TAVR; Cole Pepper

 Monday on First Coast Connect we discussed the recently completed federal hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro with Glenn Jackson and Jill Jackson-d’Entremont, whose brother Jack Johnson was one of the 33 crew members who was killed in the disaster . The family’s attorney Bob Spohrer,  maritime legal expert Rod Sullivan and Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Kitchen also discussed the hearings. Dr. Ruby Satpathy from Baptist Heart Specialists told us about a unique heart procedure to replace an aortic valve without opening the chest and without general anesthesia and Cole Pepper talked about the latest sports news.        

El Faro

It’s one of the largest investigations in U.S. Coast Guard history. A year after convening its first hearing into the sinking of cargo freighter El Faro, the U.S. Coast Guard wrapped up its third and final fact-finding session Friday in Jacksonville. But it could be another year or more before investigators issue recommendations into the disaster. The cargo ship’s routine run from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico ended in tragedy when the 33 crewmembers aboard were killed when the vessel lost propulsion and drifted into the path of Hurricane Joaquin in October of 2015.


Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacementis performed through the femoral artery in the groin and allows physicians to replace the aortic valve in the heart without opening the chest and without using a heart-lung machine. Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville is the only hospital in northeast Florida performing the procedure.

By not cutting open the chest and not using general anesthesia patients can recover much and faster and can be released in only a few days.   

Cole Pepper

Pepper spoke about the changes already being made by the Jaguars under Tom Coughlin, including an expected trade with the Miami Dolphins, sending tight end Julius Thomas to Miami for offensive tackle Brandon Allen.

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.