SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CA (NEWS 1130) – A 75-foot dive boat has gone up in flames in the waters off Los Angeles, and there are fears that dozens of people were trapped and may have died.
The US Coast Guard confirms five people have been rescued, one with minor injuries, after a fire started in the sleeping area of the vessel just after 3 a.m.
#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
Senior Chief Aaron Bemis tells CNN the fire was very intense and has flared up a number of times, likely as fuel reignited.
He says there were 34 passengers on board the vessel, and everyone who made it off were crew members.
Coast Guard and fire crews have not been able to breach the hull and confirm the number of fatalities. No other survivors have yet been found.
The boat where a fire broke was on a Labor Day weekend cruise taking divers to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.
The vessel Conception was operated by Santa Barbara-based Worldwide Diving Adventures, which says on its website it has been operating such expeditions since 1972.
This weekend trip had departed at 4 a.m. Saturday with plans to return at 5 p.m. Monday.
It was outfitted with dozens of small berths for people to sleep in overnight.
The trip promised multiple opportunities to see colorful coral and a variety of marine life.