Rough seas suspend search for final victim of boat fire

This Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 still image taken from video and provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows the derrick barge Salta Verde, as it arrives as part of the salvage operation for the Conception, off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. Dive teams from the Unified Command continued recovery efforts for the last missing person from the dive boat Conception Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Crews are utilizing a wide range of equipment including Remote Operated Vessels and side-scan sonar to assist with search efforts. (Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

The search for the final victim of a scuba diving boat fire off the Southern California coast has been suspended until early next week because of gusty winds and rough seas

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The search for the final victim of a boat fire off the Southern California coast has been suspended until early next week because of gusty winds and rough seas.

Authorities said they also suspended efforts to salvage the Conception off of Santa Cruz Island because the conditions were expected to last through the weekend.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says the Conception has been secured underwater, where it will remain until it is safe to resume the salvage operation.

Thirty-four scuba divers died when the boat caught fire and sank before dawn on Monday. They were sleeping in a cramped bunkroom below the main deck and their escape routes were blocked by fire.

Medical examiners say the victims appear to have died from smoke inhalation.

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