Authorities recover 4 bodies near Calif. dive-boat fire

Published 6:25 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

OXNARD, Calif. — The bodies of four people who died when a raging fire swept through a dive-boat off the Southern California coast were recovered Monday as authorities said more than two dozen others remained missing and feared dead.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll says the four bodies had injuries consistent with drowning.

Searchers continued to look for more than two dozen other people who were aboard the vessel Conception, which burned while anchored off Santa Cruz Island.

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“Right now they’re conducting shoreline searches for any available survivors,” Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester told reporters at a brief news conference at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.

The Coast Guard said the vessel was believed to have carried 38 people, including five crew members who jumped off soon after the fire ignited before dawn.

“The crew was actually already awake and on the bridge and they jumped off,” Rochester said.

Two suffered minor injuries, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.

Authorities said the crew members were rescued by a good Samaritan vessel called The Grape Escape.

Asked if the crew tried to help others aboard, Rochester said, “I don’t have any additional information.”

A woman who came to the harbor said, “My son was on that boat.” She was led away by a Ventura County firefighter.