Deadly Boat Fire Off Santa Cruz Island Near Ventura
A Labor Day weekend tragically ended when a boat fire broke out aboard a diving vessel. The tragedy took place 20 yards off the Channel Islands on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. The fire erupted onboard the 75-foot commercial diving vessel, the Conception, at approximately 3:28 a.m on September 2. There were 39 people on board, 33 of whom were passengers, along with six crew members. The passengers and one member of the crew were sleeping below deck when it happened. All but six of the people on board are believed to have been killed. Of the five that survived, all were members of Conception’s crew, including the captain of the vessel. One person is still missing. On Tuesday, September 3, the search for others in the area off the Ventura County coast was suspended, according to Capt. Monica Rochester, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard who provided support for the rescue operation. She said it is not an easy decision but that no one else was seen entering the waters nor did surveillance aircraft see any signs of distress or debris due to the boat accident suggesting the search should continue.