Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A committee set up to examine what happened to the Sanchi oil tanker, an Iranian vessel that sank in mid-January, said Monday it's looking at black box data.
The Sanchi, which hit a Chinese cargo vessel, sank Jan. 14 with 30 Iranian and two Bangladeshi crew members on board. The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported three of the bodies recovered from the scene were identified using DNA evidence.
Hadi Haqshenas, an Iranian member of the multinational team set up to investigate the accident, said the Iranian government was given information from the data recorder on board the vessel, which he said survived the incident intact.
"The committee will continue its work until the reason behind the accident is uncovered," he was quoted by IRNA as saying.
The Sanchi was carrying about 1 million barrels of a light form of crude oil called condensate when it crashed into a Chinese freighter on Jan. 6. Sanchi had been burning for more than a week before it sank, sealing the fate for the estimated 29 crew members still on board.
Apart from the blaze itself, Iranian state media said many of the crewmembers may have died from exposure to toxic gases released during the collision and subsequent explosion. Government officials in Tehran had held out hope for survivors, saying some of the crew may have been holed up in compartments below the water line.
Around a dozen vessels were working either on rescue operations or controlling the fire on the Sanchi tanker, though high winds, strong seas and a mid-January explosion at the vessel complicated the efforts.
All 21 members of the Chinese freighter were accounted for.