Four people are dead and at least 29 are missing after a dive boat sank off Santa Cruz Island on Monday.
At around 3:15 a.m., the Coast Guard received a mayday call from The Conception, a 75-foot vessel. When crews responded, they found the boat engulfed in flames. It was 20 yards from shore anchored off Platts Harbor at Santa Cruz Island, in just over 60-feet of water. According to Capt. Monica Rochester, the Los Angeles sector commander for the Coast Guard, five crew members were awake when the ship caught on fire that then jumped into the water. With the help of a nearby pleasure craft called The Grape Escape, they were able to make it to safety.
According to NBC, 39 people were aboard the boat when the fire began. Thirty-four of them were asleep below deck.
“Right now, they’re conducting shoreline searches for any available survivors ,” Rochester said at a 9:15 a.m. news conference.
The Conception was in the middle of a three-day diving trip to the area around San Miguel Island, the western-most point of California’s Channel Islands. The vessel left the Santa Barbara Harbor on Friday night. The itinerary called for trips to San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and the Santa Barbara Islands. It was expected to return by 5 p.m. Monday evening.
“Our hearts are with the families and loved ones affected by this tragic incident,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet. “As we wait to hear more, we are eternally grateful for our heroic first responders that are on site — working to ensure every individual is found.”
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.