Update: 25 bodies have been located. Nine are still missing, one a crew member. The search has been called off for survivors. From CNN: “A day after the inferno, about 14 people are still missing, Brown said. On Tuesday, search crews will make the grim transition from a rescue mission to a recovery operation.”
Update from 9/2/2019 4 PM Press Conference in Santa Barbara: Sheriff Bill Brown spoke first who is acting as both sheriff and coroner in this matter. The vessel sank at 7:29 AM which was on a charter. It was confirmed four deceased were recovered, two adult males and two adult females. They will be identified by DNA. Four more bodies have been found on the sea floor by divers but the wreck is unstable and when recovery can occur is uncertain. The Conception burned for hours before going down.
An assistance center has been set up for victims’ families.
After the distress call went on the Ventura County Fire Department was on scene with two fire boats. The Conception, an aluminum hull, was fully involved with flame. Five crew members managed to go over overboard while another crew member is unaccounted for.
Update: Four bodies have been recovered
Shortly before 3:28 Ventura County Fire crews responded to reports that a 75 foot dive boat “Conception” was ablaze. Thirty four passengers were presumed to be sleeping below decks while the crew of five was topside and had jumped to safety, one sustaining an apparent leg injury. The crew was picked up by a neighboring boat called “Grape Escape”. The Conception was built in Long Beach and could hold up to 46 people. It was commissioned in 1981 and owned by Truth Aquatics. It was on a three day cruise that was to end today at 5PM.
From The Daily Caller: “Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath said that they rescued five people but that 34 persons were still missing, according to CBS Los Angeles. The exact number of fatalities is unknown.”
The Conception was anchored 20 yards off of Santa Cruz. It’s hoped that some of the passengers managed to escape and swim ashore. The boat has sunk in 64 feet of water and there is nothing but the bow above water.
Family members of ship’s passengers can call the Coast Guard at 833-688-5551 for information.
#CoastInc: @VCFD responded to boat fire off the north side of Santa Cruz Island at approximately 3:28am. @USCG helping support rescue operations for people aboard a dive boat. #ChannelIslands @USCGLosAngeles @CountyVentura @SBCOUNTYFIRE pic.twitter.com/DwoPGfBjtA
— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) September 2, 2019
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Very sad. We took a three day Channel Islands trip on the Truth. Very nice.
We pray for the victims, family, friends and Truth corp’s employees, hope the investigation roots out causes and leads to lessons learned and future avoidance of such tragedies.