5 of the 6 crew members were asleep when a fire started on the diving boat that went up in flames off the California coast, killing 34 people

california boat fireThe Conception diving boat burns off Santa Cruz Island, California, on September 2, 2019.Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Handout via Reuters

  • Five of the six crew members on the diving boat that caught fire in California on September 2 were sleeping when the fire started, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a preliminary report released on Thursday.
  • Thirty-four of the boat's 39 occupants were killed, including all 33 of its passengers.
  • In interviews with the NTSB, three crew members said they were not aware of any mechanical or electrical issues on the vessel.
  • The NTSB is investigating the incident, and has not yet determined the cause of the fire.
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Five of the six crew members on the diving boat that caught fire off the coast of California on September 2 were sleeping when the fire started, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a preliminary report released on Thursday.

Thirty-four of the boat's 39 occupants were killed, including all 33 of its passengers. In interviews with the NTSB, three crew members said they were not aware of any mechanical or electrical issues on the vessel.

According to the NTSB, on the night of the fire, one crew member noticed the flames at the back of the ship's top deck. The crew members attempted to reach the passengers through a cabin on the main deck, but it was filled with smoke and fire.

The crew members then jumped overboard, and after determining that there was no fire in the ship's engine room, made their way to another ship nearby where the captain sought help over a radio. Two crew members returned to the diving boat to look for survivors, according to the NTSB report. Local Coast Guard and fire department personnel eventually extinguished the fire.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate the incident, and has not yet determined the cause of the fire.

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