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Santa Cruz Island, CA – Diving Boat Fire Kills 25 People, 9 Others Missing

Posted on September 3, 2019 | Written By: Cliff Bui

Diving Boat Fire Near Santa Cruz Island Kills 25 People, 9 Others Missing

Diving Boat Fire Near Santa Cruz Island Kills 25 People, 9 Others Missing

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CA (September 3, 2019) – Early on Monday morning, a diving boat anchored in Platt’s Harbor off of Santa Cruz Island near the coast of Southern California caught fire. Twenty-five people were killed, and nine other people are missing.

The September 2 incident involved a dive boat called Conception, which was at sea when fire erupted at roughly 3:00 a.m.. Thirty people, who were passengers on the boat, had been asleep below the boat’s deck.

According to Matthew Kroll, who is a lieutenant commander with the Coast Guard, at least 25 victims, who had been aboard for a recreational trip involving scuba diving, were killed. Nine other victims are still missing, and the search will continue.

Five victims were not recovered as yet owning to conditions that were not safe beneath the boat. The vessel had sunk in water that is 60 feet deep where the incident occurred.

Reports say five people who were crew members had been sleeping on the boat’s top deck when fire erupted. They jumped from the dive boat and, using a dinghy, they moved away safe. Two of the people suffered injuries that were described as minor.

None of the identities of the victims has been reported

The dive boat, which had been carrying 39 people including crew and passengers, had left from the Channel Islands Harbor in Santa Barbara County on Saturday for a weekend trip over Labor Day.

Reports say crew rapidly called for help. The Coast Guard and a vessel assistance company—TowBoatUS—quickly responded. The vessel was adrift and rescuers worked to pull the boat to deeper water so fireboats could assist.

The five people who were crew members reached a private fishing boat in the dinghy they were in. The owners—identified as Bob and Shirley Hansen—heard pounding on their boat’s side, and found the frightened people who had escaped the fire.

Hansen is reported to have said that when the looked, they saw a boat was completely engulfed, from stem to stern, in flames. According to Hansen, two crew members went back to the vicinity of the burning vessel to look for survivors, but they did not find anyone.

What caused the fire has not been discovered. Investigators are continuing to gather details, information, and evidence. The boat’s home port was Santa Barbara Harbor. The owner of the boat was Truth Aquatics, also based in Santa Barbara.

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