A salvage team looking for the voyage data recorder for the sunken freighter El Faro said on Thursday it had located the bridge deck that separated from the wreckage, but the ship’s black box was still missing.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the search continues for the recorder, which normally is affixed to the bridge but appeared to have detached when the ship sank in a hurricane last month, killing 33 mostly American crew onboard.
The bridge was located about one mile from the main wreckage, said Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman.
The recorder is expected to contain the last 12 hours of information related to the ship’s engine and other communications from the bridge before the Oct. 1 disaster.
The recorder is similar to an airplane’s black box and can provide the NTSB with vital clues as to what caused the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades.
The 790-foot (241 meter) ship disappeared on a regular weekly run between Florida and Puerto Rico, after the captain reported losing propulsion and taking on water.
A salvage team spotted the wreckage nearly two weeks ago sitting on the ocean floor at a depth of nearly three miles (5 km) beyond the reach of divers.
(By Barbara Liston, Editing by David Adams, Bernard Orr)