25 bodies found following boat fire in California 5 months ago

25 bodies found following boat fire in California

The boat had been full of recreational scuba divers, and there are still at least nine more people missing.

In the early hours of Monday morning, a commercial scuba diving boat that had been anchored near Santa Cruz Island off the coast of southern California caught fire.

Five of the six crew escaped to their safety in an inflatable boat, but initially the condition and whereabouts of 34 more people were unknown.

Late on Monday night (local time), Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Matthew Kroll confirmed that authorities had recovered 20 bodies, and they had discovered five more that cannot yet be recovered due to unsafe conditions under the boat.

Nine more people are still unaccounted for.

Coast Guard Captain Monica Rochester told a news conference (via NBC News): "We should all be prepared to move into the worst outcome."

Bob and Shirley Hansen, meanwhile, told The New York Times that they were asleep when they heard pounding on the side of their boat. They discovered the five crew members, who told them that the fire had gotten out of control.

"When we looked out, the other boat was totally engulfed in flames, from stem to stern," Bob Hansen said.

"I could see the fire coming through holes on the side of the boat. There were these explosions every few beats. You can't prepare yourself for that. It was horrendous. The fire was too big, there was absolutely nothing we could do."