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El Faro Found: Navy Searchers Use Sonar to Detect Cargo Ship Wreckage

Image: El Faro Found: Navy Searchers Use Sonar to Detect Cargo Ship Wreckage
Debris is seen in the water from the El Faro search area in this handout photo provided by the US Coast Guard, October 6, 2015. (US Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 02 Nov 2015 09:07 AM

The El Faro cargo ship wreckage may have been found over the weekend after U.S. Navy searchers used sonar to detect what appears to be the vessel that went missing along with 33 crewmembers on October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin.

A team from the USNS Apache detected the images Saturday using Orion, a side-scanning sonar system, and saw what is believed to be the large cargo ship during the fifth of 13 originally planned search line surveys, according to a National Transportation Safety Board statement. The wreckage was found some 15,000 feet deep in the vicinity of the ship's last known location east of the Bahamas.

"The target identified by Orion (sonar) is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship, which from sonar images appears to be in an upright position and in one piece," the NTSB statement said.

"On Oct. 23, after arriving at the last known position of El Faro, specialists on Apache placed a towed pinger locator into the water and began slowly traversing the area according to a preset search pattern in hopes of picking up sounds of the pinger from El Faro's voyage data recorder," the statement continued.

Apache specialists plan to use a remote-operated vehicle to survey and confirm the wreckage, an effort that could last up to 15 days depending on weather and ocean conditions.

"No overly active weather is expected across the Bahamas throughout the week," Courtney Spamer, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said of the El Faro search area. "A spotty shower or two is possible Monday through Thursday, but otherwise it will remain dry and humid. A stronger easterly flow Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday could result in a surge in wind speeds, with sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph."

The El Faro was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it went missing last month with 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals on board.

"We are aware that the El Faro was located this afternoon by the Navy vessel Apache," TOTE Maritime, which owns the ship, said in a release, according to First Coast News. "TOTE is grateful to the Apache crew and NTSB members who have worked so hard to locate our ship."

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The El Faro cargo ship wreckage may have been found over the weekend after U.S. Navy searchers used sonar to detect what appears to be the vessel that went missing along with 33 crewmembers on October 1 during Hurricane Joaquin.
el faro, found, wreckage, sonar, search
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2015-07-02
Monday, 02 Nov 2015 09:07 AM
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