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Bodies of all but one victim of California boat blaze recovered - official

Bodies of all but one victim of California boat blaze recovered - official
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(Reuters) – Divers have recovered the bodies of all but one of the 34 people killed when the scuba tour boat they were sleeping on off Santa Cruz Island, California, erupted into flames early this week, officials said.

The charred wreckage of the Conception now rests 60 feet (18 m) below the surface. Divers were still actively searching for the remains of one person, said Amber Anderson of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

None of the victims has been officially identified yet.

The boat’s captain and four crew members were above deck when the blaze broke out early Monday morning and escaped in an inflatable boat. A crew member who was killed was apparently sleeping below deck with the passengers at the time.

Federal safety investigators on Tuesday promised an exhaustive probe of the fire.

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said 16 investigators were already assigned to the investigation, including specialists in operations, engineering, survival factors and fire analysis.

The investigators will collect all perishable evidence while on scene for at least a week, she said, but the Conception would remain on the ocean floor until a site survey had been completed.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown)

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