Coast Guard: 34 Missing in Southern California Boat Fire

southern california boat fire
Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department

The U.S. Coast Guard said 34 people are still unaccounted for after a commercial diving vessel caught fire and sank near Santa Cruz Island early Monday morning.

The Coast Guard has confirmed that its Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach overheard a mayday call on channel 16 at approximately 3:15 a.m. reporting an engulfed 75-foot commercial diving vessel with 39 people aboard.

Five people were evacuated aboard a good Samaritan pleasure craft Grape Escape.

Crews from the Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and Vessel Assist all responded.

Currently, 34 people aboard the vessel are unaccounted for, the Coast Guard reported.

The Coast Guard reported that the vessel sank about 20 yards off shore in 64 feet of water.

Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach tweeted that a group of crew members were evacuated, including one with minor injuries.

“Watchstanders launched two Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews, a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Forward Operating Base Mugu Dolphin MH-65 helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal,” the Coast Guard said in a press release.

The Coast Guard reported that the vessel currently has a portion of the bow sticking out of the water.

The dive vessel, identified as the Conception, is chartered by Worldwide Diving Adventures and owned and operated by Truth Aquatics. A schedule posted on Worldwide Diving Adventures’ website said the dive vessel Conception was scheduled for a 3-night excursion to the Northern Channel Islands, leaving from Santa Barbara early Saturday and returning Monday, Labor Day, at 5 p.m. 

The vessel Conception was built in 1981.