Divers recover body of last missing victim of California boat fire

KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast Wednesday Sept. 11 2019. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa

KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast Wednesday Sept. 11 2019. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa

Divers on Wednesday recovered the remains of the final victim of a California dive boat fire that killed 34 people, as the U.S. Coast Guard issued a safety bulletin focusing on emergency escape routes, crew training and the charging of lithium-ion batteries.

Earlier in the day, the Coast Guard announced it has issued new safety recommendations in the wake of the tragedy near Santa Cruz Island, such as limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords.

This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast.

The fire is also being probed in a separate investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in support of the Department of Justice's investigation, the Coast Guard said.

Five crew members who were above deck when the fire broke out survived by leaping overboard, telling investigators the fierce blaze made it impossible to rescue the passengers.

The bulletin also says vessels should review emergency duties with the crew, identify emergency escapes, check all firefighting and lifesaving equipment onboard, and look at the condition of passenger accommodation spaces for "unsafe practices or other hazardous arrangements".

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"The boat has not been lifted out of the water yet but the salvage teams were successful in making preparations to do so", Lt. Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office told CNN. They will also look into how the crew was trained and what crew members were doing at the time of the fire.

The bodies were pulled from the submerged wreckage of a chartered dive boat that caught fire before dawn on September 2 near the Channel Islands, about a mile off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Officials expect to release the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report Thursday, spokesman Eric Weiss said.

"A Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) has been convened and will conduct a thorough and comprehensive marine casualty investigation to determine the causal factors that contributed to this tragic incident", the bulletin states.

That investigation is expected to take at least a year. A cause has yet to be determined.

On Sunday, search warrants were served for Truth Aquatics, the company that owned the diving boat, to investigate the offices and ships. Authorities say the 21 women and 13 men apparently died of smoke inhalation.

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