A commercial diving boat caught fire while off the coast of Santa Cruz Island on Sept. 2. A statement released by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed the death of thirty three passengers and one crew member.
The boat, the Conception, was operated by the company Truth Aquatics, Inc. and, according to NBC News, was inspected annually and in full compliance with regulations.
The statement released states that multiple crew members had not reported any mechanical or electrical issues on board the ship, and were asleep when the boat caught fire. After the fire was called in, the local coast guard and fire departments arrived on the scene. According to the report, the Conception sank about sixty feet by morning.
"On Sept. 2, around 3:30 AM, my father Raymond 'Scott' Chan, 59, and sister Kendra Chan, 26, passed away aboard the Conception after it caught fire and subsequently sank 20 yards off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in Platt’s Harbor," said LMU alum Kevin Chan ('18). Chan's father and sister had been avid divers having completed a dozen or more trips.
Chan reminisced on his sister and father's love for nature and appreciation for life. "Standing still was never an option for either of them; they lived their fullest lives up until their premature passing," said Chan.
In the NBC News article, Santa Barbara County Sheriff was quoted saying that authorities were currently working with the families of 30 of the victims to identify the remains with DNA testing.