At least eight dead, dozens missing in California boat fire
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CALIFORNIA — At least eight people are dead and dozens more missing after a boat caught fire off the California coast.
According to CBS LA, the 75-foot long charter dive boat 'Conception' was anchored near California's Santa Cruz Island on Monday, carrying 6 crew members and 33 passengers.
At around 3:15 a.m., a mayday call went out alerting authorities to a fire onboard.
The LA Times reports that many of the passengers were sleeping below deck when the blaze broke out.
Five crew members who were awake and on the deck escaped by jumping into the water, and were later rescued by a good Samaritan vessel.
The Ventura County Fire Department tried to extinguish the flames that had completely engulfed the Conception.
The boat eventually sank in 64 feet of water, some 20 yards offshore.
CNN reports that according to U.S. Coast Guard officials, the Conception is currently inverted on the ocean floor.
So far, four bodies have been recovered and four more seen on the ocean floor near the sunken vessel.
26 people are still unaccounted for.
The cause of the blaze is also as yet unknown.
Authorities are still mounting search and rescue operations, and will do so until dawn tomorrow.