Feds to reveal the cause of Conception dive boat tragedy

The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigation into the Conception dive boat fire that killed 34 has been “substantially completed” and will hold a hearing in October to discuss the findings, a report said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that families were notified on Monday about the development. Eric Weiss, a spokesman at the NTSB, told the paper that there will be more information in the coming weeks.

The fire occurred on Sept. 2, 2019, just after 3 a.m., and swept through the boat anchored off California’s Santa Cruz Island. The guests were on board for a three-day excursion over Labor Day Weekend. The only survivors were those asleep above deck, which included the captain and four other crew members, according to reports. A total of 33 scuba divers and one crew member died.

Descriptions of the bodies in the report noted some were wearing clothes and shoes, while two were found to have held a cellphone and flashlight, according to authorities.

All of the victims were found out of their bunks, hinting they could have been attempted to escape, although authorities said there was no way to determine if they were trying to do so. Some were found on the surface of the water, while others inside the boat’s hull, or on the ocean floor after it capsized.

Ginger Colbrun, a spokeswoman from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Response Team, told the paper that the agency is “in the process of completing the origin and cause report.”

The paper said that investigators have looked into the actions of Capt. Jerry Boylan the night of the fire and pointed out that the boat’s owner said he did all he could to save lives.