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Undersea robots find key clue to a mysterious shipwreck


Robots just helped shed light on a maritime tragedy. The US Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board and Woods Hole Oceanographic have used both an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and a fiber-controlled craft to find the voyage data recorder of the El Faro, a cargo ship that sank near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin last October. That's no mean feat when its remains are 15,000 feet deep, and the recorder is roughly the size of a coffee can. The recovery should not only help explain the exact circumstances of the El Faro's final moments, but provide some closure to the families of the 33 crew members that lost their lives.