All 33 Passengers, 1 Crew Member Presumed Dead in California Boat Fire
All 33 passengers are now presumed dead after a boat carrying scuba divers caught fire early Monday near Santa Cruz Island off the coast of southern California. USA Today reports that on Tuesday, Capt. Monica Rochester announced that the Coast Guard was suspending search efforts, as “no additional signs of distress or debris has been witnessed.” She added that the nearly 24-hour search operation included seven missions and three helicopter crews covering an area of 160 miles.
The day before, Rochester had said, “We will search all the way through the night into the morning, but I think we should all be prepared to move into the worst outcome.” Five of six crew members were able to escape the blaze in an inflatable boat after the fire began around 3 a.m. while the vessel Conception was anchored about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles.