33 bodies recovered after California boat fire, 1 missing

Truth Aquatics, the owner of the Conception dive boat, released two preboard safety videos along with more images of the Conception as media handout. Source: Truth Aquatics/Ralph A. Clevenge

Authorities say they have recovered the bodies of 33 people who died in the scuba diving boat fire that happened off the coast of Southern California.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 11:15 AM

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Latest on the scuba diving boat fire off the coast of California that is presumed to have killed 34 people: (all times local):

8 a.m.

Authorities say they have recovered the bodies of 33 people who died in the scuba diving boat fire that happened off the coast of Southern California.

Coast Guard Lt. Zach Farrell said Wednesday that 13 bodies were recovered Tuesday and that one person is still missing.

Farrell spoke on behalf of an interagency joint information center representing local, county, state and federal officials.

The boat caught fire before dawn on Monday. Authorities previously said 34 people aboard who were below decks sleeping were presumed dead and that five crew members including the captain escaped.


7 a.m.

Authorities say divers were expected at daybreak to resume searching for remains of the victims who died in the scuba diving boat fire off the Southern California coast.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Cmdr. Kevin Huddle says medical examiners worked overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday to examine remains found so far and identify the victims. Thirty four people are presumed dead following Monday's pre-dawn fire near Santa Cruz island.

Huddle on Tuesday would not say how many bodies were discovered during that day's search for remains. Authorities previously said the remains of 20 people have been recovered and that four to six more have been located on the ocean floor but not retrieved.

Huddle said updates on bodies recovered would come after autopsies begin.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lt. Brian Olmstead says the FBI is assisting investigators in gathering evidence.

Five crew members survived, including the captain.

Thirty three passengers and one crew member are presumed dead.


12 a.m.

A family of five along with high schoolers, an adventurous marine biologist and a science teacher are among those believed lost in the fiery sinking of a scuba boat off the Southern California coast.

Authorities believe all 34 people who were sleeping below deck perished when flames raced through the boat before Monday as it anchored off Santa Cruz Island northwest of Los Angeles.

The search for other survivors ended Tuesday. At least 20 bodies have been recovered and officials continued efforts to bring in others spotted on the ocean bed. Some may be inside the sunken boat.

The National Transportation Safety Board arrived Tuesday to begin investigating the cause of the blaze, which left only five known survivors - the captain and four crewmembers who were on deck.

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