UPDATED: Twenty-five bodies have been located and and nine people are still missing following a boat fire Monday morning near Santa Cruz Island, according to the Associated Press.
39 passengers were aboard the Conception, a 75-foot commercial diving boat based out of the Santa Barbara harbor, when it caught fire off the coast of Ventura County. Only five people have escaped with the aid of a personal craft called the “Great Escape.”
The five people rescued were the boat’s crew members who were in the main cabin at the time of the fire. Two suffered leg injuries, according to the L.A. Times. One crew member was still missing.
The U.S. Coast Guard overheard the boat’s mayday call around 3:15 a.m. Fire department crews then began fighting the fire until the boat sank 20 yards off shore in 64 feet of water.
The Santa Barbara and Ventura County fire departments, Vessel Assist and the Coast Guard, all responded to the fire.
Actor Rob Lowe paid tribute to the victims of the fire on Twitter, writing, “My heart breaks for those onboard the Conception. An unspeakable horror on a boat I’ve been on many times. My prayers and thoughts are with the families.”
My heart breaks for those onboard the Conception. An unspeakable horror on a boat I’ve been on many times. My prayers and thoughts are with the families.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) September 2, 2019