Sunday, September 8, 2019

Dive Boat Conception's Design Scrutinized After Catastrophic Fire (VIDEO)

So sad --- and mind-boggling, frankly.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Boat where 34 died was a ‘fire trap’ despite passing inspections, experts say. It’s far from alone":

A day of diving off Santa Cruz Island ended like countless others aboard the Conception, with dozens of divers asleep in tightly arranged bunks that all but filled the belly of the 75-foot boat.

As always, there were two ways out in case of emergency — up a curved stairway at the front of the cabin, or through an escape hatch in the ceiling over bunks at the rear.

Before dawn on Labor Day, when flames devoured the 38-year-old wooden-hulled vessel, no one below deck made it out of either exit. The only survivors were five crew members who were up top in the wheelhouse and managed to jump into the water and then onto a dinghy.

Now, as investigators search for the cause of the fire that killed everyone in the bunk room — one crew member and all 33 passengers — questions are mounting about the design of the Conception and its emergency escape routes.

By various accounts, both the design of the boat and the layout of its sleeping quarters met federal standards and both are widely popular among California operators of overnight dive and fishing excursion vessels.

Like other such commercial boats, the Conception was subject to annual inspections by the Coast Guard, most recently in February, when it was certified to be in compliance with all regulations...
Keep reading.