JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The National Transportation Safety Board released the transcript Tuesday from the El Faro’s voyage data recorder, which details the ship’s final hours.

This is the longest transcript ever released by the NTSB. It’s over 500 pages and covers the ships final 26 hours.

There is a lot of information, but one of the focuses during a press conference with officials Tuesday morning was the fact that crew members called the captain twice, suggesting course changes to veer further from the hurricane, but the course was not changed.

The cargo ship sank on the morning of Oct. 1, near the Crooked Islands in the Bahamas with 33 people on board, including four Mainers.

Michael Davidson, captain, has been described by colleagues as an experienced leader and calm under pressure. Davidson earned a captain’s license before he ever went to college at Maine Maritime Academy.

Danielle Randolph from Rockland served as 2nd mate on the El Faro. Her mother, Laurie Bobillot, said Randolph was obsessed with the sea.” Randolph also attended Maine Maritime Academy.

Mike Holland, a 3rd engineer aboard the El Faro, also attended Maine Maritime. His stepfather, Robin Roberts of Jay, said Holland was proud of his accomplishments at the academy, was a great engineer and always wanted to be a mariner.

El Faro crew member Dylan Meklin was also a graduate of Maine Maritime, according to a spokeswoman for the school.

Officials say there was conflicting weather data coming into the El Faro via two different systems.

According to the transcript, trouble started the night before when the third mate estimated they’d be 22 miles from the center of Hurricane Joaquin in a matter of hours.

By 4:30 a.m., engineers reported the ship was listing. An hour after that there was flooding.

At 6:15 a.m., the ship lost propulsion and put out a distress call.

Just an hour later, Captain Michael Davidson ordered everyone to abandon ship.

Life boats were put into the water at 7:32 a.m.

The transcripts show the last moments for Captain Davidson and a helmsman:

Helmsman: My feet are slipping. I’m goin’ down.

Captain Davidson: You’re not goin’ down. Come on.

Helmsman: You gunna leave me?

Captain Davidson: I’m not leavin’ you. Let’s go.

[sound of scream]

Helmsman: I’m gone/I’m a goner

Captain Davidson: No you’re not.

Helmsman: Just help me.

The recording ends at 7:40 a.m. with Captain Davidson and a helmsman still on the bridge.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Transcripts from El Faro voyage data recorder by WGME on Scribd


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