Robot Sub Aids in Recovery of El Faro’s Data Recorder

By Alan Levin | May 3, 2016

An underwater search has successfully recovered a voice and data recorder that may provide clues about why a cargo ship sank last year off the U.S. East Coast in a hurricane.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which last year located the wreckage of the El Faro without finding the recorder, resumed the search with a robot submarine on April 18. It recovered the device at a depth of about 15,000 feet (4,572 meters), according to a NTSB statement released Tuesday.

The recorder will be used in NTSB and U.S. Coast Guard investigations, according to the NTSB. It should have recorded the ship’s operators talking in the hours before the sinking and also stored navigational data.

The 790-foot container ship was heading from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico when it encountered Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 aboard were lost.

The latest search, which was also designed to capture better photos of the wreckage to assist investigators, was conducted in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.