NTSB launches go team to investigate El Faro loss

USCG released video on Twitter showing El Faro lifeboat found during search eddorts USCG released video on Twitter showing El Faro lifeboat found during search eddorts

OCTOBER 6, 2015 —The National Transportation Safety Board is launching a go-team to Jacksonville, Fla., to begin an investigation into the loss of the TOTE Maritime U.S.-flag cargo ship El Faro, which was last heard from on October 1.

Yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard announced that the vessel, which was en route from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was lost in last week's storm. The Coast Guard will participate in the NTSB's investigation.

The team will be led by the NTSB's Tom Roth-Roffy as investigator-in-charge. NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr is accompanying the team and will serve as the principal spokesperson during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D. FL.) said that, as a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, she will be asking for "a complete investigation into this tragic incident."

The Coast Guard said yesterday that search and rescue crews continued searching for possible survivors from the cargo ship El Faro Monday night, covering a total search area of more than 160,574 square nautical miles.While searching in the vicinity of the ship’s last known position 35 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Islands, Bahamas, the Coast Guard located a deceased person in a survival suit in the water.

A heavily damaged life boat with markings consistent with those on board the El Faro was also located Sunday. Additional items located by Coast Guard aircrews within a 225 square nautical mile search area include a partially submerged life raft, life jackets, life rings, cargo containers and an oil sheen Sunday.Coast Guard assets involved in Monday’s search include:

  • Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, FloridaTwo Navy P-8 fixed wing airplanes
  • One Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida
  • Coast Guard Cutter Northland, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Key West, Florida.
  • Three commercial tugboats

Sea and weather conditions during Monday’s search include one-foot seas and 15 knots winds with unrestricted visibility.All three Coast Guard cutters remained on scene to search through the night.

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