California Boat Fire: Tragic Story

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California Boat Fire: Tragic Story

Kayla Smith, Contributor

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Labor day weekend is a good time to get off work and enjoy your day off, however on this supposedly enjoyable day, many lost their lives. On Monday, September 2 at about 3 am, a fire struck out on a scuba diving boat called, The Santa Barbara California. The boat was carrying 33 passengers and 6 crew members, only 5 of which were able to escape the tragic accident. A total of 34 people were presumed either dead or missing. Santa Barbara County Bill Brown said, “The bodies of 20 victims have been recovered and divers have seen between four and six others in the sunken wreckage.” He also mentioned that authorities are trying to stabilize the boat that sank in about 60 feet of water so divers can recover those remains. The boat was anchored about 90 miles away from Santa Cruz Island, West of Los Angeles, California. As soon as the fire started, Coast Guard Mark Barney called for help right away, “The call was garbled, it was not that clear, but we were able to get some information out of it to send vessels,” said Barney to news reporters. There was a boat about 30 miles away, launched by the same company, making its way to help quickly after receiving the urgent call. Unfortunately, they were not fast enough. They didn’t arrive until 5 am, which was enough time for the boat to burn into pieces, leaving passengers and crew members afloat on the water. Captain Reid said that the fire grew extremely fast and got so large that there was nothing anybody, on the boat, could have done. 

Although many souls were lost, only two adult men and two adult women were recovered and identified. Some fell to the seafloor, and others burned up by the fire. About twenty-six bodies were unaccounted for at the scene. Officials continue searching for the missing bodies. Even though there were only a small amount of survivors, the terrible fire easily left a mark on them. This accident is something that the crew members will never forget. There was barely anything anyone could do, considering that the door to the passengers’ cabin was trapped shut and burning in flame. This event was never expected, as it shouldn’t be. Crew member, Bob Hansen says, “I could hear some voices, so I put on a pair of shorts, walked to the door, and I see this boat out there all on fire, totally engulfed. Thirty-foot flames, at least — a 75-foot boat and it was on fire from one end to the other. It looked like it had portholes down below deck and you could see fire through the holes… You can only imagine the horror.” 

Officials state that there will be no further information on the case until Tuesday morning. They are investigating as best they can in the black and burnt crime scene, trying to figure out what exactly caused this flame to break out in the first place. As authorities try to gain more information on the cause, Coast Guard officials will be searching endlessly for the bodies lost during the terrifying accident.  

Sources:

https://www.kcra.com/article/coast-guard-25-bodies-found-after-california-boat-fire/28893921

https://abcnews.go.com/US/News/rescue-efforts-underway-30-people-boat-fire-santa/story?id=65339206

https://abcnews.go.com/US/News/rescue-efforts-underway-30-people-boat-fire-santa/story?id=65339206

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/03/us/california-boat-fire-tuesday/index.html

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/rob-lowe-california-boat-fire-deaths

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