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Bodies of 33 victims recovered after dive boat fire

Sep 4, 2019 03:20 PM

One victim is still missing from the 75-foot Conception, which rests 60 feet below the surface

Rescue personnel return to shore with victims of a pre-dawn fire that sank a commercial dive boat off Santa Barbara, Calif., on Monday.

Courtesy Reuters

Rescue personnel return to shore with victims of a pre-dawn fire that sank a commercial dive boat off Santa Barbara, Calif., on Monday.

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — Divers have recovered the bodies of all but one of the 34 people who were killed when the dive boat they were sleeping in erupted into flames early this week off Santa Cruz Island, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Details of the victims, who ranged in age from 17 to 60, emerged while authorities worked to identify the remains of the 33 people recovered so far, using a DNA analysis tool that is primarily employed in war zones to generate results quickly.

The charred wreckage of the 75-foot Conception now rests 60 feet below the surface. Divers were still searching for the remains of one person, said Amber Anderson of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

The boat’s captain and four crewmembers who were above deck when the fire broke out early Monday escaped in an inflatable boat. A crewmember who was killed was apparently sleeping below deck with the passengers at the time.

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said 16 investigators were already assigned to the inquiry, including specialists in operations, engineering, survival factors and fire analysis.

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