Los Angles: At least 29 people were missing and five crew members were rescued after a fire erupted aboard a commercial boat off the coast of Southern California, the US Coast Guard said on Monday, while local media outlets said some deaths were reported by a fire department official.
At 3:15 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard and Ventura County Fire Department crews rushed to a mayday call that the “Conception,” a 75-foot-long charter dive boat carrying 39 people was ablaze 20 yards off Platts Harbor on the north side of Santa Cruz Island, which is located about 30 miles west of the city of Ventura.
“This isn’t a day we wanted to wake up to for Labor Day and it’s a very tragic event,” said Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester. “I think we should all be prepared to move into the worst outcome.”
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy,” Brown said at a somber news conference. “We understand the tremendous burden they are under right now as they wait to determine exactly what happened. We will be working diligently to get them as much information as possible as soon as possible.”
Hansen said two of the crew members went back toward the Conception looking for survivors but found no one. Asked at a news conference if the crew tried to help others aboard, Rochester told reporters, “I don’t have any additional information.”
She said the 75-foot (20-meter) commercial scuba diving vessel was anchored in Platts Harbor, about 20 yards (18 meters) off the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, when the fire ignited.
The boat was outfitted with dozens of small berths for people to sleep in overnight.