El Faro's navigational bridge found, but 'black box' still missing

Story highlights

  • The American cargo ship El Faro sunk with 33 people on board in October
  • The ship was found October 31 at the bottom of the sea near the Bahamas
  • The ship's navigational bridge wasn't discovered until November 12

(CNN)The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday a Navy search team located the navigation bridge of the El Faro, the Florida-based cargo ship that sunk October 1 near the Bahamas.

The NTSB said the search for ship's voyage data recorder, the so-called black box that is housed on the bridge, continues.
Locating the container ship's recorder could provide insight into the crew's decision-making leading up to and during its fatal encounter with Hurricane Joaquin.
    Thirty-three people, including 28 Americans, were on board. The remains of only one have thus far been recovered.
    The wreckage of the nearly 800-foot container ship was located October 31. It was 15,000 below the sea near its last known position near Crooked Island. According to the NTSB, it was found in an upright position with the stern buried in about 30 feet of sediment. The bridge and the deck below, however, had separated and were not with the rest of the vessel.
    The fact that the bridge separated was a chilling scenario to those in the industry.
    "I'm pretty sure it happened very quickly and very violently," Larry Legere, a ship captain based in Portland, Maine, said of the El Faro's sinking. "If it was enough to rip the bridge right off that ship, it was a very violent end, and probably why they didn't recover any survivors."
    The NTSB said Thursday it will continue the search for the voyage data recorder. As for how much longer, board spokesman Eric Weiss said that's "a daily conversation."