The death toll continues to climb after a massive boat fire off the Southern California coast early yesterday. Officials are confirming that at least 25 people are dead – as their bodies have been recovered. Sadly, nine others remain unaccounted for after the incident off Santa Cruz Island.
In all, more than three-dozen people were on board the diving vessel at the time. Apparently, most of them were sleeping below deck when the fire broke out, and while there is no indication of how the fire started, the already devastating loss is made worse by the fact that the vessel Conception was just 20-yards from shore – and sank in 64-feet of water.
Details are still sketchy, but we do know that authorities received a mayday call and the Coast Guard was called to the scene about 3:15am PT. It seems the crew of five, who were on the bridge when the blaze began jumped overboard - they were picked up by good Samaritans. The shell of the boat later sank as crews tried to put the fire out. The investigation continues.