California Diving Boat Fire Claims 34 Lives

Bill Carr, Reporter

Tragedy struck the morning of September 2, when a 75-foot diving boat in burst into flames. The fire broke out early in the morning, trapping all of the passengers in the bunk room, along with one crew member. The boat then sank off the coast of California. The only survivors were the five crew members on the top deck who managed to jump off into the water.

According to Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County, the victims were not killed by burns. Rather, they perished due to smoke inhalation. Because of this claim, there were no plans for autopsies.

By the next afternoon, thirty-three of the thirty-four bodies of the victims had successfully been recovered by divers. DNA tests were used to identify the victims due to the fact that they had severe burns. 

The Coast Guard had successfully managed to lift the remains of the boat. It was then transported to an unknown location for investigation. According to authorities, the cause of the fire has still not been found. 

A memorial was made in honor of the victims of the fire. It stands at the Sea Landing of the Santa Barbara Harbor. Mourners gathered on September 6 at Chase Palm Park to honor the victims.