There are 34 people unaccounted for, but the whole crew of five was able to escape; some with leg injuries. A good Samaritan boat called The Grape Escape saved the five just in time. No sign of anyone of the 34 who the crew stated were all asleep. The Ventura Coast Guard with other Coast guard stations, the fire department and local police don’t have any details. When this emergency was responded to around 3:30am this morning, the boat was already engulfed in flames as stated by Captain Monica Rochester of the Ventura Coast Guard who answered most questions about the incident.
No one has said were the fire has come from. Reporters who have covered most of this incident are questioning how no details after 6 hours have yet to surface about this mysterious fire. The name of the boat consumed in the inferno is called The Conception. The coast guard has said they are hoping for the missing 34 people to turn up on the coast of Santa Cruz Island.
The issue is, there is no mention of the use divers to search for the missing 34 people in the area. The people who have not turned up are divers themselves. Reporters at the press conference have questioned the Capt. Rochester on this obscurity where she has retorted she cannot give out any details or answer their questions.
The fire happened 20 yards from the shore of Santa Cruz Island. There is more information on the names of the units and stations of civil service personnel who are responding to this emergency than the 34-missing people in question. Capt. Rochester stated they are in full response phase and are conducting shoreline searches.
A crew of 5 alive with legs injuries and 34 missing. There are no further details as the story is still developing.
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The diver that led this Labor Day diving trip was identified, however the others have. Descriptions of who was on the vessel included a teen. There were multiple birthdays being celebrated during this tragic trip. The third deck had one stairway to get in and out. The diver company and past crews who have worked on the boat have a clean record of safe operation of activities on board The Conception. Currently 11 female and 9 male bodies in all 20 have been recovered from the water. Evidence is still being sought. There has been no mention as to how the fire started since the investigation is ongoing as per Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County. 30 out the 34 families have been successfully contacted to conduct DNA profiles to match to bodies recovered and the manifest from the boat. Around 9:40am this morning, search efforts have been suspended due a less than 24 hours search time that involved a multitude of emergency service stations which include the fire, police, sheriff’s department and coast guard units from the county as stated by Capt. Rochester. This now puts the investigation into recovery phase. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of the victims of this tragedy.
One of the crew of five that escaped claimed it may have been a cell phone charger that ignited the fire. The boat was said by Cptn. Rochester that it passed inspection and that The Conception like most boats that pass are safe for operation. The story is here. See the LA Times story on the victims involved and click the photo below to view video.