Death toll rises to 25 in California dive boat fire

At least 25 people are confirmed dead after a dive boat caught fire and sank Monday near Santa Cruz Island off of Southern California.

Five other bodies have not been recovered because of unsafe conditions under the boat, The Associated Press reports. A search was expected to continue for the nine passengers still missing.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll told the AP that these counts are based on initial reports.

The names of the victims were not immediately released.

The boat, a commercial diving vessel called “Conception” that had embarked on a three-day recreational scuba diving trip with 39 people aboard, caught fire at about 3 a.m., the AP reports.

Several crew members on top of the boat were able to get off, while others were sleeping below as the fire started.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Los Angeles tweeted Monday that it had launched a rescue mission in the early hours of Labor Day to assist more than 30 people on a boat near Santa Cruz Island.

Authorities recovered four bodies as of Monday morning, and Kroll told the AP they showed signs of drowning.

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