The 75-foot vessel called the Conception was carrying 33 passengers and six crew when it went up in flames at about 3:30 a.m. on Monday, officials said.
By Yuliya Talmazan, Elisha Fieldstadt and David K. Li
Rescue crews located what they believed were the remains of 25 people who died after a diving boat caught fire off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, north of Los Angeles, according to a U.S. Coast Guard official.
The 75-foot commercial vessel called the Conception, carrying 33 passengers and six crew, went up in flames at about 3:30 a.m. Monday, officials said.
In a text message conversation with NBC News, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said crews collected what appeared to be the bodies of 25 people. He said that figure needed to be confirmed by the coroner.
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“You just need to keep in mind that the numbers may change slightly as the coroner examines the remains,” he said.
At least nine people are still missing and the search for survivors was ongoing, he added.
Five crew members, who were awake and above deck on the bridge of the ship, jumped off and were rescued by a “good Samaritan” recreational vessel, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said earlier.
Thirty-four of the 39 aboard the boat were sleeping below deck when the fire broke out, Rochester said.
The Conception, operated by Truth Aquatics out of Santa Barbara, was in full compliance with regulatory requirements, she added.
The boat was scheduled for a three-day $665 diving excursion “to explore the pinnacles of San Miguel Island,” according to a Truth Aquatics schedule. It departed Saturday morning and was due back Monday evening.
Truth Aquatics is a Santa Barbara Harbor-based operation that has been in existence since 1974.