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The came to rest at an unstable angle, complicating the recovery effort.
The FBI was on the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a crew to the site.
Mayday calls captured the chaos at sea.“I can't breathe,” one person on the ship reportedly said in a call, according to ABC News. Bob Hansen, the owner of , told The Daily Beast that he and his wife were out on the water for the weekend, anchored in a cove on Santa Cruz Island, when they heard pounding.“I put on some shorts and walk outside and open the door and here’s five guys in a little rubber boat and a 75-foot commercial boat on fire,” said Hansen, 73, from Madera, California. the whole thing engulfed in flames.“The flames were shooting up 25 feet. He radioed the Coast Guard and waited for them to arrive, watching the scene unfold in horror, before ferrying the crew back to land.“You can only imagine the tragedy. “There are some things you can’t unsee.”The Coast Guard struggled to put out the fire—which kept reigniting—before it burned the Conception down to the waterline.
CNN reported that a Coast Guard dispatcher was heard questioning a crew member about firefighting equipment and an “escape hatch” for passengers during a mayday call.“Can you get back onboard and unlock the boat? Then the flaming hulk sank, leaving its bow pointing out of the water.
Firefighters were still trying to douse the flames hours later when the 75-foot vessel sank in 60-foot waters. The crew member’s replies were reportedly inaudible.
Five crew members were awake and on the bridge when the flames began to consume the wooden-hulled vessel. The five crew members fled and were rescued by a pleasure boat moored nearby. There were five tanks that were blowing up—or we thought there were—these big pops.”Hansen brought the five crew members on board; one had a badly broken leg.