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NTSB investigates Conception layout, crew members

Posted at 10:36 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 01:46:29-04

Wednesday marked the first full day of the NTSB's investigation of the Conception boat fire that killed a total of 34 on board.

The National Board of Transportation, is acting quickly in its investigation, in hopes of determining what happened on the conception boat diving trip this past Monday morning.

On Wednesday investigators interviewed crew members who were aboard the conception and were able to jump to safety.

"The vessel owner and operator, that's one individual, the second galley, the second captain, one of the deck hands, and the vessel's captain," Jennifer Homendy National Board of Transportation board member.

Homendy described those interviews as cooperative, yet detailed and multi-hours long.

Investigators also toured one of Truth Aquatic's other ships, that is similar to the Conception.

"I wanted to lay eyes on the vessel and just get a sense of the layout," said Homendy.

NBC's Miguel Almaguer spoke with Homendy after she was aboard the Vision ship, and she came away with questions about the boat's exit hatch.

"I did have some concerns about passenger egress.

Q: not enough or not big enough?

A: no, my concerns were whether the passengers could get out," said Homendy.

Joe Headley, a member of the National Association of Charter Boat Operations, says he has already looked at the blueprints of the Conception boat. He says he works with the Coast Guard to make sure everything goes smoothly on the water for passengers and crews, but this incident, has been tough to process.

"It is difficult to comprehend what chain of events led to the inability to escape. That's one of the reasons I'm here, this is an incident that by our understanding shouldn't be able to happen," said Headley.

Homendy mentions that this is going to be a very lengthy and detailed investigation. She added there will be a preliminary report released in about 10 days. It will include factual information but not a probable cause or findings of the Conception boat fire.

The NTSB expects a final report to be released with that information in about 12-18 months.

Investigators are expected to hold another press conference with updates Thursday, September 5.