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Authorities recover bodies after deadly boat fire off Southern California coast

Three bodies have been found near the wreckage of a commercial diving vessel that caught fire early Monday morning off the coast of Southern California, U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Steve Bricki told CBS News. At least 31 people remained unaccounted for.
Earlier, Coast Guard Captain Monica Rochester told reporters the agency was engaging in “search-and-rescue activities.” The agency was “conducting shoreline searches for any available survivors,” Rochester said during a press conference.
The diving vessel’s five crew members were rescued by a pleasure craft named the Grape Escape, Rochester said. The passengers were asleep below deck when the fire broke out, she said.
The FBI was assisting with the investigation into the deadly fire, CBS News chief Justice and Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports. The bureau has an underwater search and evidence recovery team available to authorities.
The 75-foot vessel, which the Coast Guard identified as the Conception, sank about 20 yards offshore from Santa Cruz Island, which is located off the coast of Santa Barbara, Rochester said. The water was 64 feet deep, she said.
In response to a question about whether the vessel’s operator had any history of violations, Rochester said the vessel had been in full compliance. The island was part of Channel Islands National Park, and the vessel was authorized to operate in the park, Chief Ranger Mark Hnat told reporters.
The Coast Guard heard a mayday call at around 3:30 a.m. that the vessel was engulfed in flames, Rochester said. Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said on Twitter the boat caught fire while it was anchored near the island.
The diving vessel’s crew jumped into the water to escape the fire, Rochester said. They were already awake and on the vessel’s bridge, she said.