JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Federal investigators say they have found the missing data recorder for the sunken cargo ship El Faro.
The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday said it had recovered the voyage data recorder (VDR), which may help investigators better understand the final moments of the ship's last journey during a hurricane.
The 790-foot freighter sank last October after losing propulsion while traveling between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship got caught in 155 mph winds and strong seas of Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crew died.
“Finding an object about the size of a basketball almost three miles under the surface of the sea is a remarkable achievement,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart.
A search team failed to find the data recorder on an earlier mission, some 15,000 feet underwater near the Bahamas. The second search team used more advanced sonar and imagery systems, the NTSB said.
The next step will be to determine how the VDR can be retrieved.
Key questions remain about routing decisions made by ship Capt. Michael Davidson that took the ship closer to the path of the storm.