At least 25 bodies have been found and nine are still missing after a boat went up in flames off the coast of California Monday morning.
Officials believe that all 33 passengers and one crew member on the Conception boat are dead after it caught fire early Monday morning.
In a press conference on Tuesday, authorities shared that rescuer initially recovered four bodies early on in their search. As they continued, 20 more bodies were recovered and brought to land including 11 females and 9 males. They say that four to six more bodies were located in the wreckage but were unable to be recovered by nightfall.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester did announce that they would be suspending the search efforts as;
“no additional signs of distress or debris has been witnessed.”
In a headcount, the boat was carrying six crew members and the 33 passengers when it became fully engulfed in flames. Five of the crew members were able to evacuate the boat to find help as they were sleeping on the top deck. The passengers and one crew member were all sleeping in bunk beds on the bottom deck. All were on board for a weekend scuba diving trip.
In audio released to the media, there was a distress call which came from the boat letting officials know that all doors were locked and that there were no escape hatches for those on board.
However, Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said; “there are no locked doors” aboard the Conception.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr Matthew Kroll said; “where and which doors were hatched and were locked, and which ones were not” – was not immediately clear.
“A lot of boats have water-tight doors just for overall stability and security of the vessel so that if the doors are open the boat becomes less stable. So a lot of times there are what we call watertight doors.”
As of now as the investigation continues, autopsies and DNA analysis are underway to identify the victims in this tragic accident.
As more news is released, we will keep you updated.