Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

8 dead, at least 26 missing in California boat fire

8 dead, at least 26 missing in California boat fire

The coast guard responded by both air and water and nearby vessels were called to help rescue the passengers, the station reported.

"We will search all the way through the night into the morning but I think we all should be prepared to move into the worst outcome", she said.

The surviving crew members have been interviewed by investigators from the Sheriff's Department and the Coast Guard, but details of what they said have not been released.

The burned-out hull of the Santa Barbara-based Conception dive boat shortly before it sank Monday near Santa Cruz Island.

Dave Reid, who runs an underwater camera manufacturing business with his wife, Terry Schuller, and has travelled on the Conception and two other boats in Truth Aquatics' fleet, said he considered all three among the best and safest. However, the fire happened overnight, and the sleeping quarters were below deck.

Deaths have been reported and rescuers are searching for 34 people after a diving boat caught fire off the coast of southern California.

The Ventura County Fire Department posted photos of the boat fire and said it provided a dive boat to assist with the rescue.

"It was really on fire ... the whole thing engulfed in flames".

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Scuba or propane tanks on the Conception may have exploded in the fire, but that had not been confirmed, Brown said, adding it was unclear if there was an initial explosion that caused the fire.

Rochester said as a result of the fire, the vessel sank in 64 feet (19.5 meters) of water, with its bow still visible above the waterline.

"Mayday mayday mayday", the caller said.

The Conception was chartered by Worldwide Diving Adventures, which says on its website that it has been taking divers on such expeditions since the 1970s. No one is ever locked into that deck, he said, but coming up to the top deck to get off the boat requires negotiating a narrow stairway with only one exit.

The boat's operator Truth Aquatics has a 4.5 rating on Trip Advisor. It now has a portion of the bow sticking out of the water, per the Coast Guard. Earlier inspections found some safety violations related to fire safety.

Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Islands National Park, is a popular tourist destination known for leisure activities including, diving, snorkeling, and whale watching.

After the captain apparently reports a fire and provides a location, the dispatcher is heard saying, "And there's 33 people on board the vessel that's on fire, they can't get off?".

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