After a ship caught fire off Santa Cruz Island, California, at least 34 individuals were feared dead, authorities confirmed early Monday morning.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll informed that the 34 individuals were unaccounted for from a commercial diving vessel. The boat’s captain helped with the rescue. Four others have been saved. Kroll later verified that the vessel had sunk near Santa Cruz Island’s north coast after taking on water.
Earlier, the U.S. Coast Guard tweeted that it was coordinating a large rescue effort Monday, Sept. 2, in response to the fire.
“The Coast Guard has launched multiple rescue assets along with assets from local agencies to assist more than 30 people in distress on a 75-foot boat near Santa Cruz Island,” Coast Guard LA tweeted.
A second Coast Guard tweet said the ship was reported on fire and one of those rescued was suffering minor injuries.
BREAKING NEWS: The Coast Guard has launched multiple rescue assets along with assets from local agencies to assist more than 30 people in distress on a 75ft boat near Santa Cruz Island. More details will be available later as this operation continues.
— USCG Los Angeles (@USCGLosAngeles) 2 tháng 9, 2019
According to a spokesman, firefighters with the Ventura County Fire Department replied about 3:28 a.m.
Two helicopters, two 45-foot Swift boats, and an 87-foot cutter were sent by the Coast Guard.
Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer Nathan Alldredge said that his office was responding to a call for mutual assistance around 4 a.m. local time.
Alldredge said the call was for the Santa Barbara Harbor diving ship Conception. The policeman said the boat is a fully equipped commercial 75-foot diving vessel that takes out recreational scuba divers and is able to spend multiple days out at sea.
Owner of Conception, Glen Fritzler, met Monday morning with representatives of the Coast Guard at Channel Islands Harbor Station.
Fritzler’s Truth Aquatics website says the Conception has bunk space for 46 people and “rafts and jackets for 110 passengers.”