California Boat Fire May Involve 2 Singaporean Victims, Confirms Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
A boat carrying 39 people mysteriously went ablaze in the early hours of Monday (2 Sep) morning and subsequently sank.
Sadly, the tragedy that dominated headlines in Santa Barbara, California may now involve at least 2 families in Singapore.
33 bodies have been recovered at the time of writing reports LA Times, but here’s how the tragic accident played out.
Scuba-diving boat carrying 34 people catches fire
In the early hours of Monday (2 Sep), a vessel named Conception – known to be carrying scuba-diving enthusiasts – caught fire along the coast of Santa Cruz Island in California.
Unfortunately, for the 34 victims of the tragedy – mainly passengers and 1 staff member – they were below deck when the fire broke out and assumed to be sleeping.
US authorities have theorised that the boat’s exits could have been blocked as the fire escalated.
This means that the victims may not have been able to escape via a hatch and a galley stairway.
Distress call audio leaked
In the clip, a crew member was heard shouting across to a Coast Guard,
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I can’t breathe!
When asked if passengers could evacuate the boat, or succeed in putting out the fire, no further response was heard.
Currently, US authorities have not determined the cause of the flames, but have confirmed that they received “a single mayday call” from the boat, according to CNA.
Survivors saved by couple in fishing boat
There are at least 5 people who have survived the incident, including the captain and 4 members of his crew.
Crew members later managed to approach a couple onboard a small fishing vessel after escaping the fire in a lifeboat.
This pair of eyewitnesses told the New York Times that they saw the Conception getting “engulfed in flames from stern to stern”.
Besides that, the couple also heard “explosions every few beats”, describing the harrowing scene as “horrendous” to witness.
MFA is on the case to assist next-of-kin & potential victims
What remains of the 23-metre-boat has sunk about 20 metres below the surface of the water. Authorities will be following up with eye-witnesses and piecing together the events that led up to the deadly fire.
MFA has stated that as US authorities continue the hunt for the missing bodies, Singapore’s team will be in “close contact” and will “gather more information about the two Singaporeans”.
As for the 2 individuals’ next-of-kin, they will be given all due help as well.
DNA testing will help identify bodies
Investigations are ongoing for the case, and DNA will be gathered from the bodies once they are found to identify the victims.
Truth Aquatics, the business behind the sunken boat, has stopped all similar diving trips as for now.
We can expect an update to the case to be released within the next 10 days.
However, a full analysis could take up to a year and a half to be completed, confirm US authorities.
Our condolences to all the victims & their loved ones
MS News extends our sincere condolences to all victims of the boating incident.
We also hope that the ongoing search efforts are successful and they’ll be able to identify the victims & cause of the fire, so their families may receive closure.
As this is a developing story, stay tuned for updates on the case.
Featured image adapted from CNN.
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