Divers find final body in California boat fire

KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search Wednesday Sept. 11 2019 for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near

The Associated Press

"DNA testing is still being conducted to confirm identities of 7 of the 34 victims recovered". Five crew members who were on deck survived.

But the document suggests that investigators may be looking into the possibility that the fire was ignited by passengers charging electronic devices in the below-decks sleeping quarters and could not escape once flames were raging in the cramped space.

The Coast Guard is among several agencies investigating the September 2 fire.

" Review emergency duties and responsibilities with the crew and any other crew member in a safety sensitive position to ensure they comprehend and can comply with their obligations in an emergency to include the passenger safety orientation".

Just this week, in response to the Conception disaster, the Coast Guard issued a safety bulletin, urging mariners to, among other things, ensure all required firefighting and lifesaving equipment is onboard and operational and review the overall condition of areas accessible by passengers.

The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island.

A woman relights a candle placed at a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sunday Sept. 8 2019 in Santa Barbara Calif. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that
The Associated Press

The boat's design will also come under scrutiny, particularly whether a bunkroom escape hatch was adequate.

Four members of the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation will investigate all aspects of the incident, including pre-accident historical events, the regulatory compliance of the Conception, crew member duties and qualifications, weather conditions and reporting, safety and firefighting equipment, and Coast Guard oversight, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

At 3:15 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard and Ventura County Fire Department crews rushed to a mayday call that the Conception - a 75-foot-long charter dive boat carrying 39 people - was ablaze 20 yards off Platts Harbor on the north side of Santa Cruz Island, which is located about 30 miles west of the city of Ventura. The Coast Guard and the maritime industry do not have to delay until the MBI has completed their investigation before taking immediate and positive action. The panel will seek to determine the factors that led to the fire, any possible evidence of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful ignorance of the law, and if any other factors caused or contributed to the deaths.

Coast guard records show the Conception passed its two most recent inspections with no safety violations.

Authorities have said the victims, 21 women and 13 men from 16 to 62 years old, appear to have died from smoke inhalation.

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