On Monday, federal investigators announced that wreckage found over the weekend, 15,000 beneath the surface of the sea, had been identified as that of El Faro, the cargo ship that went missing during Hurricane Joaquin last month.
Sonar indicates the ship landed upright, which could help crews recover the ship’s voyage data recorder, or “black box,” the NTSB said.
Crews sent down a remotely operated vehicle to confirm the wreckage after sonar images picked it up on Saturday. The U.S. Navy will continue searching the wreck site and debris field on Tuesday with the vehicle and its underwater video cameras.
The “black box” could hold a wealth of key information including audio from the bridge during key decision-making moments, and comments from the captain and others about the condition of the ship.
“My head wants answers, but my heart wants to stick to my vision of hope, stick to my vision of him being out on an island out there,” Deb Roberts, the mother of El Faro engineer Michael Holland, said. Identifying the ship’s wreckage “does make it very difficult.”
Four families have filed lawsuits against Tote Marine, the ship’s owner, and Michael Davidson, the ship’s captain, alleging that the ship was improperly maintained and mishandled—allegations which Tote Marine denied in court filings submitted in U.S. District Court last week.