HEAR IT: Chilling distress call in fatal Santa Cruz Island boat fire

The captain of a charter boat that erupted into flames on Monday morning can be heard on a distress call frantically alerting the Coast Guard about dozens of passengers trapped inside the boat.

As reported by the New York Post, an NBC News reporter shared an audio recording of the captain’s distress call on Twitter. The call reportedly came in at about 3:14 a.m. on Monday from the vessel named Conception, and the audio shows that the Coast Guard operator struggled to hear some of what the captain was saying.

“On board a vessel on fire,” the captain says to the operator, who confirms that the captain is calling from the Conception, which was parked about 20 feet from shore near Santa Cruz Island when it was overtaken by flames.

“There’s 33 people on board the vessel on fire. They can’t get off,” the captain says.

“Roger. Are they locked inside the boat? Roger,” the operator responds.

“Can you get back on board and unlock the doors so they can get off? Roger. You don’t have any firefighter gear at all, no fire extinguishers or anything?”

The captain’s response is inaudible, and he later confirms to the dispatcher that he and four other crew members were able to jump off the boat.

When the operator asks if the vessel is fully engulfed in flames, the captain responds, “Roger. And there’s no escape hatch for any of the people on board.”

According to the San Francisco Gate, someone can be heard on a distress call with what appears to be the same Coast Guard operator, saying, “I can’t breathe” amid static on the call.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, four bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of the boat, which reportedly sank into about 65 feet of water after the fire. At least 29 passengers remain unaccounted for, according to the most recent reports.

The cause of the fatal fire remains under investigation.


[Feature image: Ventura County Fire Department via AP]