Investigators Recover Data Recorder From Cruise Ship That Sank Off Greek Island

Investigators have recovered the data recorder of a cruise ship that sank off the coast of the Greek holiday island of Santorini, the Merchant Marine Ministry said Saturday.

Authorities hope the recorder will reveal details of the April 5 accident, in which the Sea Diamond sank after hitting well-marked rocks. Most of the nearly 1,600 passengers and crew were safely evacuated, but two French tourists are still missing.

The ministry said the voyage data recorder was recovered by a remote-controlled undersea probe at a depth of about 280 feet at 1:30 p.m.

Most of the sunken hull, which has settled on an undersea slope, is more than 325 feet below the surface.

The probes, operated by the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, are also being used to search for the missing French passengers and to stop a fuel leak from the sunken ship.

More than 120 tons of fuel and diesel — about a quarter of the total on board — have leaked into the sea-filled volcanic crater where the Sea Diamond sank.

The remote-controlled submersible Maxirover began probing the sunken hull Tuesday.

Officials from the Merchant Marine Ministry and the ship's Cyprus-based operator have both said the sinking was caused by human error.

The ship's captain and five other crew members have been charged with negligence, but have not been taken into custody, and are due to give additional testimony next week.