Dozens feared dead in California boat fire

Ventura County Fire Department personnel respond to a boat fire on a 75-foot (23-meter) vessel off Santa Cruz Island, California, U.S. September 2, 2019.
Ventura County Fire Department personnel respond to a boat fire on a 75-foot (23-meter) vessel off Santa Cruz Island, California, U.S. September 2, 2019. Copyright Ventura County Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS
By Alice TideyNBC's Saphora Smith, Caroline Radnofsky
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Four bodies have been recovered and another four have been identified on the ocean floor after a commercial diving boat caught fire off Santa Cruz Island in the early hours of Monday, the US Coast Guard confirmed.

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Dozens are feared dead after a diving boat caught fire off the Santa Cruz Island in California on Monday morning.

The US Coast guard confirmed that four bodies have been recovered and another four have been identified but not yet recovered from the ocean floor.

The Conception commercial diving boat was believed to be carrying 39 people when it transmitted its mayday call at 03:30 a.m. local time on Monday.

Five crew members were rescued from the water during the initial response, authorities said, while 26 passengers remain unaccounted for.

The boat was anchored just metres off Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Islands National Park, off the coast of Ventura, north of Los Angeles and was completely submerged by 07:20 a.m.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for details.

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