- A boat caught fire near Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Ventura County, California, at approximately 3:30 a.m. local time on Monday morning. There were 39 people in total aboard the vessel, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
- According to the Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders found the 75-foot recreational diving boat named “Conception” fully engulfed in flames. The vessel sank to the ocean floor at around 7:00 a.m. local time.
- Associated Press said the accident left at least 25 people dead and nine others missing. According to ABC7, 20 bodies have been recovered.
- Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll told AP that five other bodies have been found but have not been recovered due to unsafe conditions around the boat. Authorities have pledged to continue to search for the nine missing people throughout the night.
- In a recording of the dispatch call made to the US Coast Guard, the boat’s captain can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.” Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.
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25 bodies have been located and 9 others remain missing following a massive boat fire off the coast of Ventura County, California, Monday morning, according to Associated Press.
The diving boat Conception sent out a distress signal around 3:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. It was in the middle of a three-day trip.
The 75-foot vessel was carrying 39 people when the blaze began, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Those aboard the ship are believed to have been sleeping in the boat’s hull, according to CNN.
According to AP, the accident left at least 25 people dead and nine others missing. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.
Five of the six crew members escaped the wreckage by jumping onto an inflatable boat, AP said.
Four bodies were recovered about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles just off Santa Cruz Island, according to AP. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said the bodies had injuries that indicated they had drowned.
According to ABC7, 20 bodies have been recovered.
Kroll told AP that five other bodies have been found but have not been recovered due to unsafe conditions around the boat. Authorities have pledged to continue to search for the nine missing people throughout the night.
“We should all be prepared to move into the worst outcome,” Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said at a news conference, AP reported.
Investigators have not yet determined what caused the ship to go up in flames.
In a recording of the dispatch call made to the US Coast Guard, the boat’s captain can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
Shirley and Bob Hansen awoke at 3:30 a.m. to the sounds of Conception crew members pounding on the side of their boat, the Grape Escape. The crew, they told the LA Times, had paddled to their nearby boat on a rescue dinghy.
The Hansens offered the crew members blankets and clothes – some had escaped in only their underwear – and then two crew members paddled back to the Conception to look for survivors, but failed to find anyone.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department PIO Mike Eliason told CNN he hopes some passengers swam to shore.
“When they anchor overnight they’re pretty close to shore,” he said. “We have to hope, but we plan for a worst-case scenario.” Eliason noted that fog in the area made rescue efforts difficult.
“We’re gearing up resources to be able to handle the potential for a lot of fatalities off of this boat,” Erik Raney, a public information officer with the coroner’s office, told the LA Times.
According to Worldwide Diving Adventures, which operates the Conception, the boat was scheduled to anchor off the coast of the San Miguel Islands, located around 55 miles off the coast of Ventura. The San Miguel Islands are the western-most islands in the Channel Islands National Park.
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