SANTA BARBARA, CA (ABC News) — The sad announcement Tuesday: authorities are suspending the search for survivors of the dive-boat that burst into flames over Labor Day weekend.
Officials say there’s no indication anyone below deck escaped when the fire erupted early Monday.
The 33 passengers and one crew member who were asleep at the time are presumed dead.
Officials have recovered 20 bodies so far, and found several others within the wreckage, but they’re not able to recover the remains until they stabilize the boat.
They say the bodies will have to be identified through DNA.
Authorities say it appears the exit and escape hatch were blocked by fire, trapping those 34 people in the sleeping quarters.
The five crew members who survived have submitted written statements to officials, but those have not been released.
So far, authorities have not commented on what could have started the fire.