33 Bodies Recovered, 1 Missing in Conception Boat Fire
Santa Barbara County Sheriff – Coroner Releases Updated Numbers of Recovered Victims from the Conception Incident
The Search and Recovery efforts continue today for the one remaining victim of the Conception Boat disaster that occurred early Monday morning. A devastating fire consumed the vessel as it was moored in Platt’s Harbor on the north side of Santa Cruz Island in Santa Barbara County.
On Tuesday, September 3, 2019 search and recovery efforts were successful in locating 13 additional victims, adding to the 20 victims that had already been recovered in the proceeding days. The majority of the victims were recovered with the technical expertise of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s dive team, who were able to penetrate into the boat to recover the victims. The victim’s remains were transported to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office, where the process of identification began. The Coroner’s Office has received a total of 33 victims from the incident. The Coroner’s office is charged with identifying each victim, and determining the cause and manner of death. The remains of victims from this incident have suffered varying degrees of damage from the devastating fire, requiring DNA analysis to aid in the identification process.
The search for the last remaining victim is continuing today. Los Angeles Port Police, who assisted with yesterday’s efforts, will continue using sonar mapping technology to map the ocean floor of the designated search area, allowing divers to target specific areas of interest. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Underwater Search and Recovery team will be assisted in large part by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s dive team and the FBI dive team. The National Parks Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office, Ventura Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Long Beach Police Department and the US Coast Guard are all assisting in the search and recovery operations. Assistance includes scene security, surface support for dive teams, safety and logistical support.
Dive teams report that search conditions remain favorable, with good weather and mild currents. Search and recovery efforts will continue in an effort to locate the last victim as well as gather information for investigators to assist in determining the cause of this disaster.