Dozens missing, some dead in boat fire off California coast | Dailytrust

Dozens missing, some dead in boat fire off California coast

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday was involved in a massive rescue operation after a 75-foot boat caught fire off the Coast of Ventura County in California, trapping dozens of people.

More than 30 people were missing and officials said some died.

Many on the boat were believed to be sleeping below deck when the fire broke out and appeared to have been trapped.

According to Coast Guard Petty Officer, Third Class Aidan Cooney said the situation is unfolding.

“A group of crew members has been rescued, one with minor injuries and efforts continue to evacuate the remaining passengers.”

“Rescues from multiple jurisdictions were on the scene off Santa Cruz Island looking for survivors. The effort was hampered by foggy conditions,“ said the Coast Guard.

A law enforcement source said the boat was largely destroyed by the fire and what was left was being towed to a harbour.

The operation was occurring off Santa Cruz Island, where the boat caught fire around 3:30 am (1030 GMT).

According to the Ventura County Fire Department, the diving boat was found on the north side of the island in flames.

However, several charter operations run diving expeditions around the Channel Islands.

The charters typically took-off from Ventura and Santa Barbara harbour for several days.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department identified the boat as the Conception, which was based in Santa Barbara Harbour.

News of the tragedy brought outpouring of grief from both the diving community and elsewhere.

Sen. Kamala Harris expressed delight over the news out of Santa Cruz Island.

“I’m grateful for the heroic first responders and rescuers who are working tirelessly on the scene to ensure every person is found. My thoughts are with the families of all those involved,“ he said. (dpa/NAN)

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