conception dive boat tragedy

NTSB Sets Hearing Date to Review Findings on Dive Boat Fire That Killed 34

The Conception was anchored off Santa Cruz Island when it caught fire in the early morning hours Sept. 2, 2019, killing 34 on board including two Santa Monica residents.

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Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Getty Images

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Conception boat fire that killed 34 people near Santa Cruz Island, including two Santa Monica residents, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it will hold an Oct. 20 meeting to discuss the agency's investigation into the deadly fire.

Marybeth Guiney and Charles McIlvain, diving enthusiasts who lived in the same Santa Monica condominium complex, were among the nearly three dozen people trapped aboard the Conception when it sank amid a three-day Labor Day weekend diving trip to the Channel Islands.

The 75-foot commercial diving vessel was anchored in Platts Harbor off Santa Cruz Island when it caught fire in the early morning hours Sept. 2, 2019, killing one crew member and all 33 passengers. Only five people, all crew members, were able to escape the inferno.

The NTSB's five-member board will vote on the agency's findings, probable cause and recommendations, as well as any changes to the draft final report.

In keeping with established social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the board meeting will be webcast to the public at http://ntsb.windrosemedia.com on Oct. 20, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. with the board members and investigative staff meeting virtually.

Lawsuits filed by victims' families allege that the 41-year-old Conception was in blatant violation of numerous Coast Guard regulations, including failing to maintain an overnight "roving" safety watch and failure to provide a safe means for storing and charging lithium-ion batteries, and that the below-decks passenger accommodations lacked emergency exits.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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