MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For the first time, viewers will be able to see images of the sunken ship El Faro – now three miles beneath the Atlantic’s infamous Bermuda Triangle.
The incident- considered the worst U.S. maritime disaster in 35 years – took the lives of 33 men and women aboard the boat that sunk in Hurricane Joaquin back in October.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are working to piece together what happened and CBS’s 60 Minutes was there as they looked at what was left of the ship. The images will air on the CBS show Sunday, January 3rd (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT).
NTSB’s lead investigator in the case, Tom Roth-Roffy, said he is looking at many factors to find out why the ship sank back in October.
“This is the most difficult and complex investigation I have ever worked on in my 17 years with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB),” said Roth-Roffy.
Despite various hurdles, including the wreck’s depth, he is confident they will able to find the cause.
“We’ve experienced this sort of challenge before on other investigations and we’re hopeful that we will be able to determine the cause of the sinking,” Roth-Roffy told CBS’s Scott Pelley.
Another challenge for Roth-Roffy is the missing Voyage Data Recorder, or VDR, for the ship. The recorder could have given him access to the conversations on El Faro’s bridge, providing a deeper look at what may have happened.
The device went missing when the vessel’s top two decks – including the bridge, where the captain would have been – were shorn off.
The images recorded during the investigation disturbed Roth-Roffy.
“We were looking, of course, for the bridge and the Voyage Data Recorder…we got up to that level and to see just openness, is extremely moving and difficult…it was a very big surprise,” says Roth-Roffy of the realization that some of the crew may have been swept away with the two decks.
Pelley also spoke with family members of some of those lost at sea and to NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. He expects it will take up to a year to answer all the questions surrounding the sinking of El Faro.
Click here for more on the sinking of El Faro.