25 bodies found after California boat fire

A pair of diving fins and flowers at a memorial wall near the Truth Aquatics moorings where the boat that burned and sank off the Santa Cruz islands early in the morning, was based in Santa Barbara, California on September 2, 2019. (AFP Photo)

A middle-of-the-night fire swept a boat carrying recreational scuba divers anchored near an island off the Southern California coast early Monday, leaving at least 25 dead and nine others missing.

A total of 25 people were killed and nine others went missing after a fire broke out on a boat off Santa Cruz island in California, authorities said late Monday.

Five crew members were rescued, U.S. Coast Guard Matthew Kroll said.

The search for nine people who remain unaccounted for is ongoing, Kroll added.

There were 39 people on board the Labor Day weekend cruise taking divers to the Channel Islands.

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