JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Federal investigators say El Faro’s voyage data recorder is heading to a testing lab in Washington.
Officials held a news conference in Florida on the status of the recorder Friday. The ship’s version of a black box was recovered Monday from the ocean floor.
Lost aboard the El Faro were Capt. Michael Davidson, 53, of Windham, a 1988 graduate of Maine Maritime Academy; Michael Holland, 25, of Wilton, a 2012 graduate of Maine Maritime; Dylan Meklin, 23, of Rockland, a 2015 graduate of Maine Maritime and Danielle Randolph, 34, also of Rockland, a 2004 Maine Maritime grad.
Another crew member, Mitchell Kuflik of Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Maine Maritime in 2011.
Once the recorder gets to the NTSB testing lab, investigators will open it up to see what, if any, information is on it that they can recover.
Officials say they found the device 15,000 feet under water. The NTSB says a quick visual examination doesn’t indicate any type of damage, but it won’t know for sure until staff are able to open it.
The voyage data recorder is designed to make digital recording of things such as travel data and conversations between crew members, which could be crucial to figuring out what exactly happened before the ship sank last October.
Investigators say because of statutes in place, the victims’ family members won’t be allowed to listen to the audio recordings, but written transcriptions eventually will be released.
Officials say they haven’t started analyzing any data yet and they’ll try to answer some key questions immediately.
The NTSB doesn’t have a timeline of when it might be able to share the device’s data, if it can be recovered.
Officials say they’ll give another update in two weeks.