The Latest: Burned dive boat was on Labor Day weekend cruise
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a dive boat on fire off the coast of California (all times local):
The dive boat where a fire broke out before dawn Monday morning 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.
Some people have died and rescuers were searching for 34 more Monday morning after a fire broke out aboard a dive boat off the Southern California Coast.
Capt. Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department confirmed some deaths to The Daily Beast but said he could not give an exact number.
Five crewmembers sleeping on the top deck of the 75-foot (20-meter) commercial scuba diving vessel were rescued, according to Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll of the U.S. Coast Guard. But he said 34 passengers who were sleeping below deck have not been accounted for.
One of the crew suffered minor injuries.
The Coast Guard has helicopters, small boats and a patrol cutter in the area for a search-and-rescue operation off of Santa Cruz Island, about 90 miles (140 kilometers) from Los Angeles.
The Ventura County Fire Department said on Twitter that it responded to the fire around 3:30 a.m.
It’s not clear how many people were on the boat, but the Coast Guard earlier said that more than 30 people were “in distress.”