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Federal Agency Issues Final Report Into Dive Boat Fire In Channel Islands Which Killed 34 People

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)
The remains of the dive boat "Conception" after a September, 2019 fire in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people.

Federal investigators have released their full written report into the deadly dive boat fire in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people.  As expected, it puts much of the blame on the Conception’s owners, as well as issues over Coast Guard regulations.

The findings were detailed in a 100 page report done by the National Transportation Safety Board.  The Board approved it following a public review of the case in October.

It says Truth Aquatics failed to provide effective oversight of the boat’s operation, including a requirement to insure a roving patrol was maintained.  It also says another factor was the lack of a Coast Guard requirement for smoke detectors in all sleeping areas.

The September, 2019 fire off of Santa Cruz Island started in the middle of the night one deck above the sleeping area.  It trapped all 33 passengers and one crew member below deck.  The exact cause of the fire was never determined.  Investigators think it may have been linked to cell phones and other electronics on chargers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is still conducting an investigation to decide whether criminal charges should be filed.

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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