The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the sinking of the El Faro on Thursday, laying out what has been reported about the tragedy that claimed the lives of 33 mariners, including four from Maine.

The cargo ship went down east of the Bahamas in 15,000 feet of water after losing propulsion and getting caught in Hurricane Joaquin.

The El Faro, which was on its run from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, reported being in distress and search-and-rescue operations were begun after the Coast Guard lost contact with the ship on Oct. 1.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for survivors on Oct. 7, and declared the event a “major marine casualty.”

All the Mainers aboard the El Faro – Michael Davidson of Windham, the ship’s captain, Michael Holland of Wilton, Danielle Randolph of Rockland and Dylan Meklin of Rockland – were graduates of Maine Maritime Academy, as was a fifth crew member, Mitchell Kuflik, of Brooklyn, New York.

The U.S. Navy Salvage and Diving division has been contracted to locate the ship and recover the voyage data recorder, which stores information about the ship’s speed, position, heading and communications. The battery-powered device – which emits a signal once it hits the water – is likely to run out of power early next month.


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