Wreckage on ocean floor confirmed as ill-fated El Faro

Nov 2, 2015 4:15 PM by CBS/AP

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Federal investigators have positively identified the wreckage found 15,000 feet deep in the sea as that of the ill-fated cargo ship El Faro.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday on Twitter that the survey of the area will continue.

The ship sank in about 15,000 feet of water Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin with 33 people aboard east of the Bahamas. No survivors were found.

The NTSB says sonar indicates the ship landed upright, which could help crews recover the ship's data record, or "black box."

The agency says the U.S. Navy is continuing to survey the area around the wreckage.

A remotely operated, deep ocean vehicle called CURV-21 will use its video camera to document the wreckage and debris field, as well as attempt to locate and recover the data recorder - the ship's "black box." That recorder would have captured the crew's conversations on the bridge as well as information about the ship's equipment, including engine performance and rudder movements.

The recorder would be on deck near the 790-foot ship's wheelhouse area, and its recovery would be more challenging if the ship had landed upside down, Knudsen said.

"We do know the ship, from the sonar-generated images, does appear to be upright, so that's encouraging," he said.

The recovery operations could take up to 15 days, depending on weather and sea conditions.

The CURV-21 is designed to work up to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet of seawater, according to the Navy. The El Faro was reported missing east of the Bahamas, and it apparently came to rest at a depth greater than the final resting place of the Titanic, which lies more than 12,500 feet down in the north Atlantic.


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