Investigators ponder next steps in probe of sunken cargo ship El Faro

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Federal accident investigators are considering launching another search of the wreckage of a freighter that sank in October in an attempt to locate the ship's "black box.

See Full Article

"

Tom Roth-Roffy, the lead investigator for National Transportation Safety Board, told The Associated Press that a weeks-long search found one of the El Faro's missing decks, but not the mast where the ship's voyage data recorder was attached. The agency on Sunday released the first images of the ship in its final resting place.

"There were no human remains found whatsoever, and no personal effects whatsoever," Roth-Roffy said. "I think we found one boot."

The El Faro sank Oct. 1 after losing engine power and getting caught in a Category 4 hurricane while sailing from Jacksonville to San Juan, Puerto Rico. There were 33 mariners aboard and no survivors.

Roth-Roffy said the NTSB would need to launch a second search of the wreckage 15,000 feet (4,572 metres) below the sea if it wants to find the data recorder, which would have recorded the captain's final transmissions. They are still determining if and when such a search would occur.

The images of the sunken ship show a breach in the Faro's hull and its main navigation tower missing.

Roth-Roffy says crews did locate one of the missing decks about a half-mile away from the main ship. Images show it resting on the seafloor, its windows broken out.

The ship's stern, or rear end, was buried more deeply, but at this point they've ruled out a major structure failure as a cause of the El Faro's sinking, Roth-Roffy said.

"The issue with the detachment of the upper two decks, we're looking at that carefully," he said.

Even without the data recorder, the images taken by remote-controlled underwater vehicles are helping to shed some light on the case.

Roth-Roffy says all of the ship's cargo containers except for four were gone. The El Faro was carrying automobiles.

Determining what happened to the ship will be more difficult without the data recorder, but NTSB's investigators have said they are still confident they'll be able to find answers.

After suspending their search for the data recorder in November, Roth-Roffy says they may go back to search again. The recorder was attached to the ship's main mast, a 35-foot (10.7-meter) tall structure that crews haven't yet located.

The data recorder charts the date, time and speed of a marine vessel, and also records conversations on the bridge that could include key decision-making between captain and crew.

While recovering a small piece of equipment at such depth is difficult, there is precedent.

The black box of the Air France jetliner that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was found in about 12,800 feet (3,900 metres) of water.

Families of the crew members have filed multiple lawsuits against the El Faro's owners, Tote Marine, alleging wrongful death and negligence. They argue the ship should never have tried to outrun a hurricane, and that the decision to do so was motivated by money.

Tote Marine has asked a federal judge to limit or release its liability, and company officials have claimed the El Faro was maintained properly and in good condition. The company says it does not comment on individual lawsuits.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 3 dogs give avalanche rescuers hope but 22 people missing

    World News Toronto Sun
    FARINDOLA, Italy — Rescue crews say they have found three puppies alive in the rubble of an Italian mountain hotel slammed by an avalanche. Firefighter spokesman Fabio German said the discovery signals that there are still chances of finding some of the 23 people still buried under the snow alive. Source
  • Defence lawyer in Quebec terrorism trial argues confession is inadmissible

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The case of a Quebec man charged with attempting to leave the country to participate in the activities of a terrorist group is hearing arguments about the admissibility of his statements to police. Source
  • Psychologists say they can inoculate people against fake news

    World News CBC News
    Researchers have found that there may be a way to vaccinate people against climate change misinformation. The key? Telling them lies. A team of psychologists from the University of Cambridge, Yale University and George Mason University studied the effect of "fake news" about climate change and how it can shift people's opinions. Source
  • Student stabbed in chest at Toronto school

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police say a 17-year-old boy has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed in the chest at a Toronto school. They say his injuries are not life-threatening and they have a suspect in custody. Source
  • Lawsuit alleges Trump business ties violate Constitution [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — A lawsuit Monday alleged that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause in the Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings, according to the suit filed by a legal watchdog group. Source
  • Alta. woman robbed, assaulted after stopping to help with broken down car

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A Good Samaritan who stopped to help four women by an apparently broken down car was robbed and assaulted west of Calgary. RCMP say the woman was driving east on the Trans-Canada Highway near Highway 68 on Saturday when she saw four women standing beside a car with the hood up. Source
  • Garland trial: RCMP found blood, burning barrel after accused's arrest

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A trial has heard that RCMP mounted what they thought was going to be a rescue mission at the home of a man charged in the disappearance of a Calgary couple and their five-year-old grandson. Source
  • Trump critics pounce on DoD tweet about mental health

    World News CTV News
    The U.S. Department of Defence put out a rather on-the-nose tweet about recognizing the signs of mental illness on social media Monday, triggering a wave of snide remarks that the message was aimed at U.S. Source
  • White House press secretary: Round 2 LIVE

    World News CBC News
    Tamara Lovett, charged with negligence in death of 7-year-old son, to learn fate Source
  • White House press secretary LIVE

    World News CBC News
    Tamara Lovett, charged with negligence in death of 7-year-old son, to learn fate Source