Two days after the deadly boat fire off the coast of California, 33 bodies have been recovered. One person is still missing, as the authorities announced on Wednesday. From a total of 39 people aboard the dive boat “Conception,” five crew members had been saved by jumping into the water.
On the night of Monday, a fire had broken out on the ship. Thirty-four people sleeping in a cabin below deck were trapped by the flames and lost their lives. The cause is not yet known.
Among other things, they talked to the boat owner, the captain and crew members on Wednesday, the NTSB said. Everyone is very cooperative. The burned-out wreck on the seafloor will be examined with sonar equipment.
The excursion ship was on a three-day dive trip and had anchored in a bay off the island of Santa Cruz. The names of the victims are not yet officially known. But relatives, friends, and employers confirmed the identity of many victims. Among the dead are therefore also a father and his three adult daughters and a teenager who celebrated her 17th birthday.
The Channel Islands off Santa Barbara are a popular destination for divers and sailors. Worldwide Diving Adventures had chartered the boat for the dive excursion on the long Labor day weekend. On its website, the organizers promised a weekend with dives, kayaking, gourmet cuisine and accompaniment from a marine biologist.
The boat, a 22-meter-long ship set up for sea trips, sank as firefighters tried to put out the fire early in the morning, the coastguard said.
At a press conference, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown noted that when the firefighters arrived on the scene, the ship was “entirely on fire.”