The Coast Guard confirmed 11 a.m. local time (2 p.m. ET) that four bodies had been recovered near the boat. Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll says the bodies recovered Monday morning had injuries consistent with drowning. Searchers are continuing to look for 29 other people who were aboard the vessel Conception, which burned while anchored off Santa Cruz Island.
Authorities have given fluctuating information about the number of people aboard the vessel. The Coast Guard now says a sixth crewmember who was on the manifest was actually not aboard. There were a total of five rescued.
The Coast Guard earlier said it responded after overhearing a Mayday call around 3:15 a.m. of an “engulfed 75-foot commercial diving vessel” with 38 people aboard. Information about the number of people aboard the vessel fluctuated throughout the day. The Coast Guard said a person listed on the manifest was actually not aboard.
Firefighters from two local fire departments were fighting the fire when the vessel sank 20 yards offshore in 64 feet of water, the Coast Guard said in a news release.
The victims and those still missing were sleeping below deck when the fire started, Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester told a news conference.
She said the five rescued were the boat’s crew.
“The crew was already awake and jumped off the bridge into the water,” she said.