The bridge deck of the El Faro has been found, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Thursday.
#ElFaro bridge deck located. Search is ongoing for the vessel data recorder.
— NTSB (@NTSB) November 12, 2015
The NTSB released the news via Twitter, noting that the search was ongoing for the vessel’s voyage data recorder (VDR), which the agency has said would have been mounted to the navigation bridge.
El Faro‘s navigation bridge and the deck below separated from the main wreck, which was found in 15,000’ of water northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas, near its last reported position during Hurricane Joaquin. The NTSB did not initially say where the bridge was found or how far it was from the rest of the ship. The Portland Press Herald reported Thursday that the bridge was found about one mile away, citing an NTSB official who said the VDR had broken off the bridge.
The search team will continue to use the remotely operated vehicle CURV-21 to search for the VDR, according to the Press Herald.
The 790’x95’ TOTE Maritime ro/ro container vessel went missing on Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin with 33 mariners aboard. On Oct. 7, the Coast Guard and NTSB announced that they believed the El Faro had sunk, and would begin searching the ocean floor for the wreck. The 226’x42’x15’, 7,200-hp Apache, a Powhatan-class fleet tug, left the Navy’s Little Creek amphibious base near Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 19 to begin the underwater search. The wreck was discovered Oct. 31 when Orion, a side-scanning sonar system dispatched from the Apache, returned images of the vessel.