At least 25 dead and 9 missing after dive boat catches fire

A fire, which began in the Sunday night on a ship carrying scuba divers in southern California, claimed at least 25 dead and nine missing, according to authorities.

For the moment, there is no other information about the identity of the victims, said Mark Barney, a spokesman for the US Coast Guard.

At a press conference on Monday night, the coroner referred to DNA tests that would still be ongoing.

Twenty-five bodies have been recovered so far and the authorities have no news of 9 people.

Earlier in the day, the Coast Guard had sent a helicopter and lifeboats to try to rescue the passengers from the 23-meter long Conception . Thirty-three passengers and six crew members were on board.

Only five of the six crewmembers could be brought back to the mainland, according to available information. Two of them have suffered leg injuries.

Authorities expect the balance sheet to be heavy, said Bill Nash, a spokeswoman for Ventura County, CNN.

It’s a big boat and we know we have many dead. I do not have an exact number.

Bill Nash, a spokesman for Ventura County

The passengers, many of whom were probably sleeping when the fire broke out in the early morning, apparently remained trapped in the flames. A distress call was heard at approximately 3:00 am local time.

The 343 passengers were under the bridge. According to the information we have, they were trapped by the fire , said Aaron Bemis, chief of the coastguard, still CNN.

“The crew was able to disembark because they were in the main cabin,” he said.

“We recovered the five people in the water,” said Captain Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department.

The fire was so intense that even after it was extinguished, we could not go immediately on board and […] in search of survivors.

Aaron Bemis, Chief of the Coast Guard

The emergency services of several municipalities are on the water, looking for survivors, but a thick fog makes it difficult for them.

The Coast Guard had earlier mentioned on Twitter deploying several rescue teams […] to help more than 30 people in distress on a boat near the island of Santa Cruz .

The causes of the fire are still unknown.

Various companies organize diving expeditions of a few days around the islands of the sector. They usually leave the port of Ventura or that of Santa Barbara, where Conception was moored.

Its passengers enjoyed the long weekend of Labor Day to visit the outskirts of the island of San Miguel, to observe the rich marine life.

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