California

Newly published footage shows interior of dive boat Conception before fatal fire

A man who was part of a scuba diving team has posted a January 2018 video from aboard the boat Conception to show what the living space looked like.

Authorities have recovered the bodies of 33 people who died when the dive boat caught fire off the Channel Islands near Santa Barbara early Monday.

Sailor James said he posted the video from a 2018 trip he took aboard the Conception to give members of the public an idea of the tightly spaced living conditions.

“We dove on this boat in January of 2018 and I shot a bunch of footage but never made an episode of the trip,” he wrote about the video above in his YouTube post. “I have put together what footage I have of the layout of the boat for any friends and family members or anyone really that wants to understand what happened or how this could have happened.”

The video shows a stack of below-deck bunks. Sailor James said that although he didn’t have footage of the two small stairwells that led to the sleeping quarters, he remembered “being shocked that there was no accessible hatch to the deck, that I knew about anyway.”

The passengers were sleeping below deck at the time of the fire, according to authorities.

“I am not putting blame on the dive captain or the company who runs the boat because this boat was highly professional and checked out by the Coast Guard regularly so it was obviously up to code. Disasters just happen sometimes, and there is no bigger disaster on a boat than a fire.

“My heart goes out to the divers and the friends and families of all that were lost. I hope this footage helps you at least get your head around what it looked like on board and down below and understand how such a tragedy could happen,” the post said.

Storyful contributed to this report.

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