Offshore InjuryBlog

VDR Retrieval from El Faro Wreckage Will Take Specialized Planning

Though the voice data recorder discovery was a positive step in finding out more truth about the sinking of the El Faro, the actual retrieval will likely take up to several months. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the way the VDR and four-ton mass are oriented will create some complications.

Brian Curtis, Director of the NTSB Office of Marine Safety commented, “It’s clear that we’re going to need specialized deep-water salvage recovery equipment in order to bring it up.” Still, he is hopeful that the research and investigative team will be able to get the VDR into the lab so that they can begin to inspect the potential information it holds.

Another Mission Will Be Needed

As the second El Faro mission wraps up in the next few days, it has become clear that a third mission will be needed to retrieve the highly-sought VDR of the cargo ship. While the VDR wasn’t discovered in the initial wreckage in November of 2015, a research team recently discovered the data recorder at a secondary wreckage site in the Bahamas on Tuesday. The VDR was found under 15,000 feet of water, still attached to the mast of the El Faro. This was an exciting discovery, as many thought it would be difficult to find in the vast ocean debris field.

Still, the discovery alone doesn’t mean that the potentially valuable information stored on the VDR can be accessed right away. The team of investigators and scientists will need to create a strategic plan and bring in specialized equipment to retrieve the voice data recorder from the mast.

When Will the VDR Likely Be Retrieved?

The NTSB hasn’t provided a clear timeframe for when they will even launch the mission for the VDR retrieval yet. Still, investigators involved in the current mission are confident that they will be able to coordinate the necessary information and planning to complete the third mission in the next few months. While VDR retrieval will be difficult, the diligent efforts of investigators and scientists give hope to those waiting to have any new information about what happened to the El Faro.

Arnold & Itkin remains dedicated in our efforts to pursue justice for the families impacted by the El Faro tragedy. We hope that the information stored on the VDR not only helps us determine what happened, but how to prevent it from ever happening again in the future.

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