Officials have been looking into what caused the fatal fire that resulted in the deaths of 34 people off Southern California while at sea. They were aboard the Conception, a dive boat, when the boat caught on fire. It eventually sank 60 feet into the sea.

Now, obtaining evidence will be difficult. Clues about the cause of the fire may have been carried away by the current and tides or burned away completely. Reports state that the remains of those on board were so badly damaged that DNA had to be used to identify them.

The Conception, which was owned by Truth Aquatics, had been chartered for the cruise for three days by a commercial diving outfit. There was a mayday call for help at 3:15 a.m. while the boat should have been anchored near Santa Cruz Island.

It’s believed that a fire above the deck blocked at least one stairway and exit hatch where the crew and 33 passengers were sleeping. Five people did survive, including the captain. They were able to jump from the bow. There have been questions about the fact that only crew members survived, but if they were above deck at the time, it makes sense.

In horrifying boating accidents like this one, it’s important that families know what they can do. You may be able to file a claim against the company that owns the vessel or seek a claim against others involved in a loved one’s death or injuries. Feel free to ask for more information from the Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A.