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Search and rescue efforts now become recovery mission following boat fire

Posted at 10:48 PM, Sep 03, 2019

Of the 39 aboard the conception during the boat fire, only 5 have been found alive, which means the search and rescue have now become a recovery mission.

As the sun sets Tuesday evening, the coast guard has suspended its search for victims. Meanwhile, at the Santa Barbara Harbor, the memorial continues to grow to honor those who were lost.

"I'm sure they went to bed happy and thrilled about a great weekend" said San Luis Obispo resident Chrystal Carlson,"I can't imagine what happened between those late hours and the ending of that, I don't even know what you would say to explain to anyone what had happened, it's something you can't plan for."

Carlson says she is in shock over Monday's heartbreaking events which left 34 aboard the conception, either dead or unaccounted for.

The National Board of Transportation has announced that they will lead the investigation.

"Our mission here is to determine how this happened, why it happened, and what safety improvements are needed to prevent it from ever happening again," said Jennifer Homendy, board member of The National Board of Transportation.

As of Tuesday night, we know that 20 bodies have been recovered, 11 females and nine males.

According to Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown, the next step is identifying the bodies through a DNA process. Brown says the bodies are badly burned so they need to rely on DNA to make sure all are accounted for, and they are asking the families for assistance.

"We need to take familial DNA samples, we need to take a DNA sample from a parent or a sibling of the person who was believed to be on the vessel," said Bill Brown, Santa Barbara County Sheriff.

As loved ones continue to wait for confirmation, the Santa Barbara community is mourning alongside them.

"When you see the vision, this is the definition of Santa Barbara, and the sea landing this is where you go when you're going to launch out when you're going out to sea, this is where you leave, and where you come back if you're lucky," said Carlson.

While people continue to show their support at the memorial, Carlson said she feels as if the community has been in grieving with the fires, mudslides, and now this tragic boat fire but she mentions that this all shows just how sacred life can be.