A firefighter works at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Channel Islands in Oxnard, California, the United States, on Sept. 2, 2019. A total of 34 people are unaccounted for and five crew members were rescued after a dive boat caught fire off Santa Cruz Island in Southern California early Monday morning, according to a press conference at the Coast Guard Station Channel Islands in Oxnard, California. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Eight people have been confirmed dead and four bodies recovered by authorities on Monday after a dive boat caught fire off the Santa Cruz Island in Southern California, which had left 34 people below deck, a local official said Monday afternoon.
The four bodies were identified as two adult males and two adult females, said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown at a press briefing.
"The four victims we have recovered as of now will need to be identified by DNA, and that will take some time," Brown added.
He said rescue and recovery efforts have located four additional victims on the ocean floor near the vessel, and a dive team is working in the water attempting to recover their remains.
At about 3:30 a.m. local time (1030 GMT), U.S. Coast Guard overheard a mayday call from the boat named Conception, which was moored about 18.3 m off the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, according to Brown.
Five crew members on board were awake on the deck when the fire broke out. They jumped into the water and were rescued by a boat, according to Brown.