SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA) – A solemn remembrance was held Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragic dive boat fire off Santa Cruz Island which killed 34 people.
Boats carrying the first responders and families of the victims visited the site of the tragedy.
A plaque with the names of the victims was also unveiled at Santa Barbara Harbor. Because of the pandemic however, a public memorial could not be held.
Santa Barbara County leaders shared condolences over video.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2019, a blaze broke out aboard the 75-foot charter boat “Conception” as it was anchored about 20 yards of Santa Cruz Island and 22 miles southwest of Santa Barbara.
A total of 39 people were aboard, included six crew members and 33 passengers. Five crew members survived. The sixth crew member and all 33 passengers perished.
On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board announced it will hold a special board meeting next month to discuss the investigation into the fire. The NTSB board will convene Oct. 20, where its five members will reveal the final report of its investigation into the fire and vote on the “findings, probable cause and recommendations as well as any changes to the draft final report.”
According to a preliminary report from the NTSB released about 10 days after the fire, all six crew members aboard the boat were asleep when the blaze broke out. Five of them were sleeping in the wheelhouse on the uppermost sun deck, and the sixth was asleep below in the lower hull’s bunkroom with the passengers. The NTSB said the five crew members in the wheelhouse jumped overboard and survived. The sixth crew member and the passengers asleep below in their bunks were trapped and died.
In its preliminary report, the NTSB did not indicate a possible cause for the blaze.