Fire official: Some deaths in boat fire off California coast

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In this photo provided by the Ventura County Fire Department, VCFD firefighters respond to a boat fire off the coast of southern California, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard said it has launched several boats to help over two dozen people “in distress” off the coast of southern California. (Ventura County Fire Department via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Firefighters say there were some deaths in a fire on a boat carrying dozens of people off the coast of Southern California.

The U.S. Coast Guard and firefighters responded early Monday to a fire on a dive boat near Santa Cruz Island.

The Daily Beast quoted Capt. Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department as saying that there were deaths. But McGrath said he could not give a number because the Coast Guard was still searching the water.

He said that five people had been rescued, one with a moderate injury. He said 34 people were still unaccounted for.

The Coast Guard in Los Angeles said earlier that more than 30 people were “in distress” aboard the boat.

Santa Cruz Island is off the coast of Santa Barbara.

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