News Release

Conception Dive Boat Tragedy

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Date: September 2, 2019
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard and partnering agencies responded to a vessel fire off the north shore of Santa Cruz Island near Platt’s Harbor in Santa Barbara County. 

Emergency responders encountered “Conception”, a 75-foot commercial diving boat based out of the Santa Barbara Harbor, fully engulfed in fire. The vessel sank to the ocean floor at approximately 7:20 a.m. 

Five of the 39 passengers were rescued and a total of 4 bodies have been recovered. An additional 4 unidentified victims located on the ocean floor have not yet been recovered. Emergency crews remain on scene as a total of 26 passengers remain unaccounted for. 

Unified command is established between Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara County Fire, United States Coast Guard and National Park Service. A one-mile safety zone has been established around the incident as search and rescue efforts continue. Additionally, a 3,000 foot temporary flight restriction has been established around the vessel. The cause of the incident is under investigation and names are being withheld pending notification of kin. 

A Family Assistance Center (FAC) has been established at the Earl Warren Showgrounds located at 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, 93105. The FAC will be open until 9 p.m. tonight and will reopen tomorrow, September 3rd at 9 a.m. We request that the public and media respect the privacy of this space for the families of those involved.  

Family members may call the County’s Call Center at 833-688-5551 for more information. The public can call 2-1-1 or if outside of the 805 area code, call toll free (800) 400-1572.

Last updated: September 2, 2019

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