25 bodies found as search for California boat fire victims suspended

Fatalities Reported, Dozens Missing After Dive Boat Catches Fire Off California Coast

They are believed to be among the 34 people presumed dead.

The Coast Guard called off its rescue operation Tuesday after determining there were no more survivors, Capt. Monica Rochester said.

She said she did not recall hearing any discussion of fire safety on her trip in March or a previous trip on the same boat in 2017. Finstad, a scuba diving instructor and marine biologist, was one of the owners of Worldwide Diving Adventures, the firm that chartered the boat for a three-day excursion to the Channel Islands.

A mayday call reveals the tension between a Coast Guard dispatcher and the Conception's captain. In a Facebook post, Susana Solano Rosas said her three daughters - Evan Michel Solano Quitasol, Nicole Storm Quitasol and Angela Rose Quitasol - were among the missing, in addition to their father, Michael Storm Quitasol, and their stepmother.

The Conception has a capacity of 46 passengers, and life rafts and jackets for 110 people, according to the company's website.

Thirty-nine people were on board the boat, 33 passengers and six crew members.

The Conception had departed at 4 a.m. Saturday with plans to return at 5 p.m. Monday.

Two boats from the Ventura County Fire Department were the first on scene and found the wooden vessel completely engulfed in flames.

Kristy Finstad's brother, Brett Harmeling, shared the news of his sister's involvement with the boat on Monday, several hours after news of the fire spread. He would not provide a specific number.

Authorities previously said 34 people aboard who were below decks sleeping were presumed dead and that five crew members including the captain escaped. So far, 20 bodies have been recovered from in and around the burned wreckage of the boat, which is now sitting on the sea floor about 60 feet underwater. "We held a prayer gathering in our Chapel this morning to offer comfort and support to our hospital family".

Hurricane Dorian threatens Florida, South Carolina
On Tuesday, Dorian was downgraded to a Category 3 storm but is expected to trod up the east coast from Florida to North Carolina. The governors of Florida, Georgia and SC have ordered mandatory evacuations of their states' coastal areas as of noon Monday.

The fire broke out as the boat sat anchored in Platt's Harbour off Santa Cruz Island. "Were they awake? Did they even wake up?" he said.

As of 10 a.m., the vessel had a portion of the bow sticking out of the water, the Coast Guard said. "Five people were evacuated aboard a Good Samaritan pleasure craft known as the Grape Escape". A portion of the bow is sticking out of the water.

Despite media reports from witnesses that claimed to have seen an explosion, Brown said any explosions likely occurred after the fire had already begun.

SIEGLER: They will, and in fact, that's part of the investigation that the NTSB, federal regulators and state authorities are looking at.

"It happened quickly enough so many people could not get off", U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Matthew Kroll told CNN. One of the crew suffered minor injuries.

The Conception, based in Santa Barbara Harbor, was owned by Santa Barbara-based Truth Aquatics, founded in 1974.

The dive boat Conception became engulfed in flames on Monday, September 2, 2019 off the Southern California coast.

Eliason, the fire department spokesman, said it's still possible some passengers may have survived.

Five crewmembers sleeping on the top deck of the 75-foot (20-metre) commercial scuba diving vessel were rescued, according to Lt. Cmdr.

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