The United States Navy may have found the wreckage of the cargo ship El Faro that went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Saturday.
The crew of the USNS Apache found the wreckage Saturday afternoon, the NTSB said in a news release. A survey with a remote-controlled vehicle capable of going 20,000 feet may begin on Sunday.
The El Faro went missing on Oct. 1 during the powerful hurricane. The vessel was found at a depth of about 15,000 feet in the vicinity of its last known position in the central Bahamas, the NTSB said.
The discovery was made during the fifth of 13 planned sonar surveys of the area.
First #ElFaro life ring found on-scene by @USCGSoutheast aircrews transported back to U.S. pic.twitter.com/lsiEllnpqp— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) October 6, 2015
To confirm the finding, specialists on Apache will use CURV 21, a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle, to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage, the NTSB said. The finding is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship, which from sonar images appears to be in an upright position and in one piece.
#HappeningNow @USCGSoutheast Photos of debris from the #ElFaro search area. pic.twitter.com/CJFf41x2xK— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) October 6, 2015
Twenty-eight U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals comprised the crew, the U.S. Coast Guard said. A deceased crew member was found Oct. 4; the search for the remaining missing crew members was called off Oct. 7.
The 790-foot-long cargo ship was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It
It may take 15 days in ideal weather conditions for the site investigation, which includes recovering the ship's data recorder, the NTSB said.
For the most part, no rough seas are expected, with waves at 2-5 feet throughout the week, AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Spamer said.
"No overly active weather is expected across the Bahamas throughout the week," Spamer said. "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."