On Tuesday, the search operations for survivors of a scuba diving boat disaster off the California Coast were suspended after divers has already recovered 20 dead bodies and spotted another four to six trapped in underwater debris.
The mortal remains of nine men and elevene women have been transferred to coroner officers followed by the disaster on September 2, when all of a sudden the 23-meter (75-foot) Conception caught fire and sank with on-board passengers below deck by the rising flame.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told sources, “Today we will begin the process of mapping DNA profiles of the 20 victims that we have recovered so far, so that they can be compared with family samples.”
The boat had been on a diving tour around Santa Cruz Island, situated West of Santa Barbara in Southern California, when disaster struck early in the morning.
Few crew members were stir and jumped into the water when flames burst out at 3:15 AM. Later, they were rescued by a nearby pleasure craft.
A total of 39 passengers were on-board, said the officials, leaving 14 passengers yet to be discovered and announce dead.
On Tuesday, emergency officials will attempt to get hold of the boat so that divers can safely enter it and recover remaining victims.
A debris field across half a mile in size will be plat and searched for additional victims and proof of what has caused the fire.
Mourning gathering at Santa Barbara docks hung red, white, and yellow flowers and wrote notes of condolences on items attached to a metal fence by the waterfront.
One has written on a pair of blue diving fins, reads: “We love you Conception.”
Investigate The Cause
The search operation detected three helicopter crews and boats scour a region of 160 miles for 24-hours, but couldn’t find any sign of survivors, said Coast Guard Captain Monica Rochester.
She continued, “It is never an easy decision to suspend search efforts,” adding that “we know this is a very difficult time for family and friends of the victims.”
The search operation will now enter a probe phase “to try and determine why this incident occurred,” she informed.
Fire Chief of the County, Mark Hartwig has said that authorities were “expending all necessary means to find out the cause and origin of the fire.”
Sailor Bob Hansen has on-board the nearby boat that rescued the crew members, told The Los Angeles Times that he heard “explosions going off every couple of minutes,” which took place due to dive tanks exploding.
He continued, “It made me feel so helpless.”
The United States news outlets has released an audio of a distress call in which a crew member on the boat yells, “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” and “I can’t breathe!”
It was around 20 yards off the Northern Shore of the Island when disaster struck.
The region is popular for a variety of water and outdoor sports.