34 Feared Dead in California Boat Fire

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SAN PEDRO, Calif – Coast Guard and partner agencies are responding to a vessel fire near Santa Cruz Island Monday.

At approximately 3:15 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach watchstanders overheard a mayday call via channel 16 of an engulfed 75-foot commercial diving vessel with 38 people aboard.

Crews from the Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and Vessel Assist responded. The fire department crews were fighting the fire when the vessel sank 20 yards off shore in 64 feet of water.

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Five people were evacuated aboard a good Samaritan pleasure craft Great Escape.

Currently, 34 people aboard the vessel are unaccounted for.

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Watchstanders launched two Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews, a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Forward Operating Base Mugu Dolphin MH-65 helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal. 

The vessel currently has a portion of the bow sticking out of the water.