34 Divers Missing After Boat Fire In California

SourceSKY NEWS

Thirty-four divers are feared dead after a boat caught on fire and sank off the coast of southern California with 39 people on board, officials have said.

Five crew members who were awake on the upper deck of the 75ft boat jumped into the sea when the blaze broke out in the early hours of Monday.

The commercial scuba diving vessel, named Conception, had been anchored off Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Officials said 34 people, believed to be sleeping below deck, are missing and are feared dead.

The US Coast Guard has helicopters, small boats and a patrol cutter in the area for the search-and-rescue operation off Santa Cruz Island, which is around 90 miles (140km) from Los Angeles.

The fire broke out before dawn aboard the vessel on the final day of a Labour Day weekend cruise to the Channel Islands.

The vessel was around 59ft (18 metres) offshore when it sank in 64ft (19 metres) of water while crews tried to extinguish the fire, Captain Monica Rochester of the Coast Guard said.

She said watchstanders overheard a mayday call at around 3.15am of the engulfed vessel with 39 people on board.

Crews from the Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and Vessel Assist responded.

The five crew members who jumped off board were rescued by a good Samaritan pleasure craft called the Great Escape.

Two of the crew suffered minor injuries, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.

The sunken vessel has a portion of the bow sticking out of the water.

The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted some photos of the boat engulfed in flames, and said it had responded to the incident off the north side of Santa Cruz Island at approximately 3:28am.

1 COMMENT

  1. Pathetic,you mean to say you had no smoke detectors,no sprinklers,no alarm sistem.all their fire fighting equipment never worked And the crew ran for their lives and left all the tourists to die in the fire.Its unbelievable,this diving company will be sued,for all kind of violations,they should be put in jail.

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