LOS ANGELES (AP) - Crewmembers who jumped from a burning scuba diving boat off Southern California said they tried to rescue the 34 people who perished in the fiery sinking but couldn't reach them.
Federal investigators say crew members on the Conception couldn't reach those in bunks below deck Monday because an entrance through the galley was on fire and they couldn't open windows at the front before being forced to jump ship.
The boat owner, Glen Fritzler, tells KEYT-TV that the crew did everything possible and the captain stayed aboard so long that he appeared to be trailing smoke when he leapt into the water.
He also says flames kept the crew from reaching firefighting equipment.
Fritzler says the five survivors are "breaking down" from the experience and are seeking counseling.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)