Updated Sep 12, 2019

California scuba diving boat fire leaves 34 dead: What we know so far

Flowers are left on a railway outside of Sea Landing, where a commercial scuba boat departed before catching fire, on September 2

The area where a commercial scuba boat departed before catching fire in Santa Barbara, California, Sunday. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The final missing victim of the Conception dive boat fire that killed 34 people in Southern California was located Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office confirmed in a Twitter post.

The latest: DNA testing was still being conducted to confirm identities of 7 of the victims from the Sept. 2 scuba diving tragedy, the Sheriff's office said. The FBI and other agencies searched Sunday the offices and 2 remaining vessels of the boat's owner, Truth Aquatics, per the Los Angeles Times reports.

  • The search was part of investigations into whether any crimes had been committed, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Lt. Erik Raney said, per AP.

What we know so far, per AP:

  • 39 passengers and crew had departed aboard the boat Conception from Santa Barbara’s Channel Islands Harbor on Saturday for a Labor Day weekend scuba-diving trip.
  • The fire aboard the diving vessel Conception started about 3 a.m. local time as the boat was anchored in Platt Harbor, near the coast of Santa Cruz Island.
  • 33 people sleeping below deck and 1 crew member were killed in the fire.
  • 5 crew members were already awake and jumped off the bridge, Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said at a press conference.
  • By the time the Coast Guard got the mayday call, the boat was already engulfed in flames.
  • Authorities released audio of the distress call to California news outlets in which a person claiming to be the captain tells says he "can’t breathe." He later says there’s "no escape hatch for any of the people on board."

What we don't know: The cause of the fire, and whether the crew tried to help any of the passengers.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest information on the tragedy.

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