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First images of doomed El Faro cargo ship released

The National Transportation Safety Board released video Sunday of the wreckage of El Faro, the American freighter that sank in October with 33 crew members on board. Video by NTSBgov

Federal investigators released the first images Sunday of the submerged wreckage of American cargo ship El Faro that went missing after it crossed paths with a Category 4 hurricane in October.

The National Transportation Safety Board released underwater images and footage of the 790-foot vessel, which was making its way from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, months after it lost propulsion and sank in the face of a strengthening Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1. A crew of 28 Americans and five Polish citizens were on board. There were no survivors.

The images were captured by a drone submarine called the CURV-21, which dived 15,000 feet below water to investigate and document the wreckage east of the Bahamas.

Investigators located the wreckage about a month after the ship lost communication with the U.S. Coast Guard. The captain last communicated that El Faro had lost engine power and that the crew was pumping water out from the cargo hold.

Search teams eventually found and identified debris, including a heavily damaged lifeboat from the ship and recovered the body of one crew member.

NTSB investigator Tom Roth-Roffy told the Associated Press that search teams are currently looking for the vessel’s “black box,” or voyage data recorder.

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