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California boat fire victims died from smoke not burns

Officials said they believe the victims died of smoke inhalation not burns in the Conception boat fire, in Santa Barbara, California

Officials said they believe the victims died of smoke inhalation not burns (Picture: AFP/Getty)

More than 30 people who were trapped in a California boat fire are thought to have died from smoke inhalation and not burns.

Officials announced on Wednesday they have recovered all but one of the 34 bodies that were onboard the Conception boat, which sank after a fire broke out just after 3am on Monday.

All passengers and one crew member who died on the three-day scuba diving excursion off the coast of Santa Barbara, were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck.

The fire spread so quickly it blocked off both exits out of the lower deck.

Authorities say preliminary findings show the victims could have inhaled highly toxic smoke and died in their sleep before the fire took hold.

The indicators are from the preliminary examination of the bodies that the victims died prior to being burned, said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

 a dive boat is engulfed in flames after a deadly fire broke out aboard the commercial scuba diving vessel off the Southern California Coast Monday morning, Sept. 2, 2019.

(Picture: AP/Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A note sits at a makeshift memorial in Santa Barbara Harbor for victims of the Conception boat fire on September 4, 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. Authorities announced that the bodies of 33 victims have been recovered after the commercial scuba diving ship caught fire and later sank, while anchored near Santa Cruz Island, in the early morning hours of September 2. Five crew members survived.

A note sits at a makeshift memorial in Santa Barbara Harbor for victims (Picture: Getty)

People walk in a procession on the beach during a public vigil for victims of the Conception boat fire on September 5, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. The remains of 33 victims have been recovered after the commercial scuba diving ship Conception caught fire and later sank, while anchored near Santa Cruz Island.

People walk in a procession on the beach during a public vigil for victims of the Conception boat fire (Picture: Getty)

Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire on a boat off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California. - Rescuers were scrambling Monday to reach more than 30 people who were sleeping below deck when their scuba-diving boat caught fire off the California coast, with reports of "numerous fatalities." A major rescue operation was underway for the dozens of people trapped aboard the 75-foot (22-meter) boat, near Santa Cruz Island off the coast from Los Angeles, the Coast Guard tweeted.

Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire on a boat off the coast of Santa Cruz Island (Picture: AFP/Getty)

His comments came as search divers continued to look for the final missing victim, while officials investigate the cause of the fire.

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But the Coast Guard said safety concerns over the weather had halted divers efforts to salvage the boat on Friday.

Hundreds attended an emotional candlelit vigil at a Santa Barbara park on Friday evening, with officials and others offering mourners words of solace.

Diving instructor Don Barthelmess said those that had been lost were our friends and our family members and that our common love for diving binds us together for eternity.

In memory of the 34 that have lost their lives, officials arranged for the same amount of scuba tanks to take off.

Victims ranged from teenagers to people in their 60s, including a group of high school students with their parents, teachers, and a family of five celebrating their fathers birthday.

Susana Solano Rosas (right) with daughters Angela Rose Quitasol (center) and Nicole Storm Quitasol. Mother Susana Solano Rosas posts a message on Facebook as three of her daughters remain missing following the September 2, 2019 dive boat fire off of Santa Barbara, California. Daughters Nicole Storm Quitasol, Angela Rose Quitasol and Evanmichel Solano Quitasol, and the girls' father, Michel Storm Quitasol - were all aboard the boat and are still missing as of September 3, 2019.

Susana Solano Rosas (right) spoke of the heartbreak of losing her daughters Angela Rose Quitasol (center) and Nicole Storm Quitasol (Picture: Facebook)

People walk in a procession on the beach during a public vigil for victims of the Conception boat fire on September 5, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. The remains of 33 victims have been recovered after the commercial scuba diving ship Conception caught fire and later sank, while anchored near Santa Cruz Island.

Our common love for diving binds us together for eternity (Picture: Getty)

So far, 23 of the 33 bodies recovered have been positively identified through DNA and their family members around the world are being notified, Mr Brown said.

Many relatives have been tracked down as far away as Singapore, Japan and India.

The owner of the boat, Truth Aquatics Inc., pre-emptively filed a lawsuit on Thursday under a pre-Civil War provision of maritime law, that could protect it from potentially costly payouts to families of the dead.

Critics condemned the companys move as disrespectful and callous, given the tragedy took place less than a week ago.

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In a statement posted to Instagram on Friday, Truth Aquatics Inc. said the legal case was an unfortunate side of these tragedies and blamed insurance companies and other so-called stakeholders for its action.

It read: This wouldnt be something that we as a family would even consider.

The timing is on them. Our hearts and minds are on the tragedy and finding answers.

Authorities and the boat owners saRead More – Source

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