JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Latest on the investigative hearings into the sinking of the freighter El Faro (all times local):
A pilot who spoke with the captain of the doomed freighter El Faro says just before the ship’s final voyage that the captain was aware of a storm brewing at sea, but that he had a plan to go under it.
Eric Bryson is the pilot who sailed the El Faro out of the Port of Jacksonville on its final voyage. He testified Monday before the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation.
Bryson said he remembered no irregularities with the 790-foot cargo ship, and that its crew was acting normally as it prepared to sail Sept. 29 to Puerto Rico.
Before he disembarked, Bryson says El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson told him he was aware that the storm that would later become Hurricane Joaquin. Bryson said Davidson was “going to go out and shoot under it.”
The El Faro sank Oct. 1 after losing propulsion and getting caught in the storm. All 33 aboard died.
A second round of investigative hearings into the sinking of the freighter El Faro will seek new information about the vessel’s stability and whether there were mistakes in weather forecasting or cargo loading before the ship’s final voyage.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation begins questioning witnesses Monday in Jacksonville, Florida. The ship lost propulsion and sank after getting caught in a Category 4 hurricane last October, killing all 33 aboard.
Search crews recently discovered the El Faro’s voyage data recorder in 15,000 feet of water, but couldn’t recover it.
The National Transportation Safety Board is planning a recovery mission for the device, which could hold recordings from the bridge.
The Coast Guard says a future round of hearings will explore the recorder’s data if the device is recovered.