Marine authorities were searching Monday morning, Sept. 2, for 34 passengers who were unaccounted for after a fire tore through a 75-foot boat off of Santa Cruz Island off the Ventura County coast.
Ventura County firefighters responded to the blaze shortly before 3:30 a.m. about 90 miles from Los Angeles. Five of the boat’s crew members were rescued, according to Mike Eliason, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. One of them had minor injuries.
Multiple photos on social media posted by the fire agencies showed the Santa Barbara Harbor-based vessel, named Conception, completely overtaken by flames while in the water.
Rescuers from surrounding counties on boats and in the air were responding to help local agencies with the search of the missing passengers.
Authorities described the boat as a vessel for diving excursions though it’s unclear if that’s what it was being used for at the time of the fire.
#CommercialBoatFire– The 75’ Conception, based in Santa Barbara Harbor, caught fire early 9/2 while anchored off Santa Cruz Island, multiple agencies responded. 5 people were rescued and 34 are missing. **Media ONLY Contact Lt. Eric Rainey/SBSheriffs 805-886-7440** pic.twitter.com/2tIYpzuRWA
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) September 2, 2019
#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
Source: Orange County Register