On Jan. 3, the CBS news program “60 Minutes” did a great story about the sinking of the U.S.-flagged vessel El Faro, which sank with no survivors. The segment did not state how long the National Transportation and Safety Board searched for the “black box,” known as the Voyage Data Recorder. By its own admission, the NTSB only searched four days for the box.
In contrast, France spent two years searching for the data recorder of Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean. The Air France search was conducted in waters as deep as the area in which the El Faro sank.
By its own admission, the NTSB is awaiting funding to resume the search. Please contact your elected federal representatives to demand the search be resumed.
The El Faro sank under unusual circumstances and only the recovery of the data recorder will reveal what led to the death of 33 merchant mariners. Several of the El Faro crew, including my brother, were U.S. Navy veterans. They, as well as the other deceased crew members, deserve a greater effort to determine what actually caused this tragedy, not just assumptions as to what occurred.
The Merchant Marine is the fourth arm of the military, and its members would never leave their own without a full investigation. The recovery of the data recorder is critical to that investigation.