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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Investigators found what could be a key piece in the sinking of El Faro investigation.

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On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced they had found the ship’s missing data recorder.

Investigators told U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson they found the recorder in 15,000 feet of water near the ship’s final resting place close to the Bahamas.

At last check, crews were working to retrieve the recorder.

“This could be a big break for investigators as they try to understand what caused the El Faro to sink. The information stored on this device could be the key to determining not only what happened, but also what can be done to ensure that it never happens again,” said Nelson who had urged the NTSB to search for the recorder again after a first failed attempt.

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Back in October, the ship sank after getting caught in Hurricane Joaquin – killing all 33 crew members in what is considered the worst U.S. commercial maritime disaster in decades.

The El Faro set sail from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico on Sept. 29th as a powerful storm that would become a hurricane churned offshore.

The ship’s captain, Michael Davidson, attempted to outrun the storm, but lost engine power and control of the ship. The storm overtook the aged vessel.

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The ship’s navigation tower had detached, and there was a breach in its hull when it was found.

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A number of the crew members’ families have since filed lawsuits against TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico – the ship’s owner – claiming negligence.