34 Dead After Boat Fire Near Santa Cruz Island

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says all 33 passengers and one of six crew members perished aboard the Conception commercial diving vessel Monday when the boat suffered some type of explosion off the coast of Southern California near Santa Cruz Island.

As of Tuesday, rescue personnel had discovered 20 bodies and were searching for 14 more. Rescue efforts have been called off, leaving just five survivors. Authorities will use the same DNA technology used in last year’s Camp Fire to identify victims. 

Sheriff Brown told KQED that the Conception fire represents a “worst case scenario.” 

“You have a vessel that’s on the open sea that is in the middle of the night — I mean at 3:30 in the morning. If not everybody, most everybody was asleep. Of all scenarios, to be in a remote location and then to have all of a sudden a fire that spread very very rapidly. You couldn’t ask for a worse situation.”

The cause of the blaze is not yet known. The FBI is investigating. Senator Dianne Feinstein has also called for a full review of the incident.

Coast Guard Captain Monica Rochester has said the boat was in full compliance with safety regulations.

Read more about the passengers and crew that were aboard the Conception at CNN


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