SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA) — One victim remains missing as of Wednesday night in Monday’s deadly dive boat fire off Santa Cruz Island that claimed the lives of 34 people.
Authorities confirmed Wednesday that 33 bodies have been recovered and one is still missing. Five of the boat’s crew members survived the blaze.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board spent Wednesday collecting evidence from the boat’s wreckage, which is upside down on the ocean floor. The search area spans roughly half a mile.
The parking lot of the harbor has become a makeshift command center — a place where pieces of that burned boat and any other evidence that might help determine what caused the boat to go up in flames early Monday morning.
The search for survivors was called off Tuesday morning and was transitioned into a recovery operation.
For one former captain of the Conception, the most important thing was for people to refrain from jumping to conclusions before the investigation is completed.
“All of the facts are not out there as of right now,” he said. “At this point, that’s what my message is; I want the people to know the facts, and we don’t know all of them at this point.
What investigators do know right now is that 34 people aboard the ship were killed, and it’s likely that the majority of them were asleep in their bunkers when the boat caught fire. The five crew members who survived were brought to safety by a pair of good Samaritans who happened to be anchored nearby.
Most of the victims were from Northern California.
On man, Dominic Selga, lost multiple family members in the tragedy. His mother, three step-sisters and step-father were aboard the boat.
Also on the boat was hairdresser Lisa Fiedlers, physics teacher Raymon Chan and his 26-year-old daughter, Apple engineer Daniel Garcia and Steve Salika, who also worked at Apple.
“There’s such a tragedy with so many lives lost,” one Santa Barbara woman said. “You have to hope that they will learn from this so it’ll never again and no other families and no other divers or people who enjoy nature have to have this horrendous experience again.”