Divers recover body of last missing victim of boat fire

  • This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island when the dive boat Conception burned and sank on Sept. 2. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says salvage efforts to recover the Conception also resumed Wednesday. (KABC-TV via AP)

    This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island when the dive boat Conception burned and sank on Sept. 2. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says salvage efforts to recover the Conception also resumed Wednesday. (KABC-TV via AP) Associated Press

  • This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island when the dive boat Conception burned and sank on Sept. 2. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says salvage efforts to recover the Conception also resumed Wednesday. (KABC-TV via AP)

    This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island when the dive boat Conception burned and sank on Sept. 2. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says salvage efforts to recover the Conception also resumed Wednesday. (KABC-TV via AP) Associated Press

  • A woman relights a candle placed at a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire.

    A woman relights a candle placed at a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2019 file photo, FBI agents set a perimeter around the Truth Aquatics office, the California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week, as authorities issue a search warrant for the company and the sister vessels of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly scuba diving boat fire plan to interview previous patrons of the boat company to determine what kind of safety information they were provided during trips, a law enforcement source said.

    FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2019 file photo, FBI agents set a perimeter around the Truth Aquatics office, the California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week, as authorities issue a search warrant for the company and the sister vessels of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly scuba diving boat fire plan to interview previous patrons of the boat company to determine what kind of safety information they were provided during trips, a law enforcement source said. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2019 file photo, investigators check the Truth Aquatics office on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly scuba diving boat fire off the coast of Southern California last week plan to interview previous patrons of the boat company to determine what kind of safety information they were provided during trips, a law enforcement source said.

    FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2019 file photo, investigators check the Truth Aquatics office on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif. Authorities conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly scuba diving boat fire off the coast of Southern California last week plan to interview previous patrons of the boat company to determine what kind of safety information they were provided during trips, a law enforcement source said. Associated Press

  • Authorities walk outside the Truth, a Truth Aquatics-owned dive boat, docked in the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week.

    Authorities walk outside the Truth, a Truth Aquatics-owned dive boat, docked in the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week. Associated Press

  • A memorial for the victims of the Conception is seen on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week.

    A memorial for the victims of the Conception is seen on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week. Associated Press

  • Authorities work to investigate the Truth Aquatics office on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week.

    Authorities work to investigate the Truth Aquatics office on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities served search warrants Sunday at the Southern California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week. Associated Press

  • FBI agents search the Truth dive boat, a sister vessel to the Conception, as authorities issue a search warrant for the Truth Aquatics' offices on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire.

    FBI agents search the Truth dive boat, a sister vessel to the Conception, as authorities issue a search warrant for the Truth Aquatics' offices on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire. Associated Press

  • FBI agents walk past a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor, as authorities issue a search warrant for the Truth Aquatics' offices in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire.

    FBI agents walk past a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor, as authorities issue a search warrant for the Truth Aquatics' offices in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes. Thirty-four people died when the Conception burned and sank before dawn on Sept. 2. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire. Associated Press

  • A crowd gathers around a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat as FBI's Evidence Response Team agents and other agencies search the Truth Aquatics' offices, the California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week, as authorities issue a search warrant for the company and the sister vessels of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes.

    A crowd gathers around a memorial for the victims of the Conception dive boat as FBI's Evidence Response Team agents and other agencies search the Truth Aquatics' offices, the California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people last week, as authorities issue a search warrant for the company and the sister vessels of the Conception dive boat on the Santa Barbara Harbor in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The office was ringed in red "crime scene" tape as more than a dozen agents took photos and carried out boxes. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/11/2019 7:41 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Divers on Wednesday recovered the body of the last missing victim of a boat fire off the California coast that killed 34 people.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced the end of the search on Twitter , saying it was "relieved to report" the final victim had been found.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Authorities were still doing DNA tests to confirm the identities of seven of the victims.

Earlier in the day, the Coast Guard announced it has issued new safety recommendations in the wake of the tragedy near Santa Cruz Island, such as limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords.

The bulletin also suggests that owners and operators of vessels review emergency duties with the crew, identify emergency escapes, check all firefighting and lifesaving equipment onboard, and look at the condition of passenger accommodation spaces for "unsafe practices or other hazardous arrangements."

The cause of the Sept. 2 fire has yet to be determined. Salvage efforts to recover the Conception - which authorities have said is expected to aid the investigation - resumed this week after several days of weather delays.

Five of the Conception's six crew members survived and told investigators they made multiple attempts to save people who were trapped below deck.

Authorities have said they are looking at several factors in their investigation, including how batteries and electronics were stored and charged. They will also look into how the crew was trained and what crewmembers were doing at the time of the fire, which erupted in the middle of the night as the passengers slept.

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The boat's design will also come under scrutiny, particularly whether a bunkroom escape hatch was adequate.

The FBI, Coast Guard and U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles are conducting a criminal investigation, and the Coast Guard has convened a formal Marine Board of Investigation.

The four members of the board will look into "pre-accident historical events, the regulatory compliance of the Conception, crewmember duties and qualifications, weather conditions and reporting, safety and firefighting equipment, and Coast Guard oversight."

That investigation is expected to take at least a year. The panel will seek to determine the factors that led to the fire, any possible evidence of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful ignorance of the law, and if any other factors caused or contributed to the deaths.

Coast Guard records show the Conception passed its two most recent inspections with no safety violations. Previous customers said the company that owns the vessel, Truth Aquatics, and the captains of its three boats, were very safety conscious.

Authorities have said 21 women and 13 men from 16 to 62 years old appear to have died from smoke inhalation.

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