UPDATED 10 p.m. PT: 25 bodies have been recovered with nine still unaccounted for, according to authorities. (KTLA)
At least eight people are dead and another 26 are missing, Coast Guard officials said, after a diving boat caught fire near Santa Cruz Island in California early Monday morning.
Several passengers were sleeping below the deck of the 75-foot vessel known as the Conception when it caught fire before dawn. One local resident compared the downstairs area of the boat to "a coffin."
The search for possible survivors continued on Monday, but the coroner at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office was prepared for mass casualties.
Coast Guard CaptainMonica Rochestersaid, "This isn't a day we wanted to wake up to for Labor Day and it's a very tragic event. I think we should all be prepared to move into the worst outcome." (Los Angeles Times)