Recordings reveal details about El Faro shipwreck

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The master of the El Faro freighter, which sank last year in a shipwreck that killed four crew members from Lee County, can be heard telling his crew to abandon ship 10 minutes before a black box recording ends, authorities revealed Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it has recovered about 26 hours of data from the ship’s voice data recorder, which was located earlier this month. The El Faro went down in October 2015 amid Hurricane Joaquin near the Bahamas, killing all 33 on board.

Technical experts will continue reviewing the entire recording, including crew discussions regarding the weather situation and the operation and condition of the ship, the NTSB said. Investigators have been trying for months to understand why the ship was navigated into the storm and the factors that caused it to sink.

Families of the El Faro’s crew were briefed about the findings Wednesday prior to their public release. They won’t be allowed to hear the recording but will be provided with a transcript, which investigators are still compiling.

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