Officials: Some deaths, 34 missing in boat fire

In this photo provided by the Ventura County Fire Department, VCFD firefighters respond to a boat fire off the coast of southern California, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard said it has launched several boats to help over two dozen people "in distress" off the coast of southern California. (Ventura County Fire Department via AP)
By  | 

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Officials say some people are dead and 34 are missing after a fire aboard a commercial scuba diving vessel off the Southern California Coast.

The Daily Beast quoted Capt. Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department as saying that there were deaths. But McGrath said he could not give a number.

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll of the U.S. Coast Guard says five crewmembers sleeping on the 75-foot (20-meter) boat's top deck were rescued early Monday morning near Santa Cruz Island. The island is about 90 miles (140 kilometers) from Los Angeles. One of the crew suffered minor injuries.

Kroll says 34 passengers who were sleeping below deck have not been accounted for.

The Coast Guard has helicopters, small boats and a patrol cutter in the area for a search-and-rescue operation.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)