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34 People Still Unaccounted For In Wake Of Excursion Boat Fire In Channel Islands

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office photo)
An excursion boat went up in flames early Monday morning; 34 people are still unacounted for

34 people are still missing following a fire on an excursion boat in the Channel Islands.

Coast Guard officials say they received a distress call just after 3:30 Monday morning.

The boat was just off the coastline of Santa Cruz Island.  Coast Guard officials say five crew members who were awake, and on duty on the ship's desk were able to jump into the oceam, where they were rescued by a nearby boat.  But, officials say the 34 passengers who were below deck sleeping are still missing.

As of 9:15 Monday morning. the Coast Guard is still searching for possible survivors.  The craft was less than a hundred feet from the coastline, so the search includes efforts to find possible survivors who may have swam to shore.

The Coast Guard deployed helicopters and a Coast Guard cutter to the scene, and both the Ventura and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments sent teams.  The boat was fully enveloped in flames when firefighters reach the scene.  The 75 foot long boat sank, but it's bow is sticking out of the ocean.

KCLU's John Palminteri identified the boat as the Conception, a popular Santa Barbara based excursion and dive boat.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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