This photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows divers resuming their search for the final missing victim who perished in a boat fire off the Southern California coast Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The victim is one of 34 who died at sea last week near Santa Cruz Island when the dive boat Conception burned and sank on Sept. 2. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Erik Raney says salvage efforts to recover the Conception also resumed Wednesday. (KABC-TV via AP)

The Latest: Lawyer denies that crew in fatal boat fire slept

September 12, 2019 - 3:49 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a fatal boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Southern California (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A lawyer for the owner of the scuba diving boat that caught fire off the California coast, killing 34, is disputing federal investigators' claims that all six of the vessel's crewmembers were sleeping when the blaze erupted in the middle of the night.

Douglas Schwartz, who represents Truth Aquatics, says a crewmember "checked on and around the galley area" around 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 2.

A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report issued Thursday said all six crewmembers were asleep. Five of the six were the only survivors of the blaze.

Officials have said the first mayday call was transmitted at 3:14 a.m.

Boats like the Conception are required to have a crewmember keep watch at night. Federal authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly fire off Santa Barbara.

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1:20 p.m.

A salvage crew has raised the scuba diving boat that sank after a fire that killed 34 people off Southern California last week.

A crane on a barge lifted the Conception to the surface of the water near Santa Cruz Island on Thursday. The boat will be taken ashore for inspection by investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report saying all six crewmembers were asleep when the blaze broke out Sept. 2.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss says only three members of the crew were interviewed before the Coast Guard asked the agency to postpone the remaining two interviews pending further investigation. One crewmember died in the fire.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials plan an afternoon news conference to discuss the progress of identifying the victims.

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11:20 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board says all six crewmembers were asleep when a fire broke out in a scuba diving boat off the coast of California, killing 34 people.

The NTSB released a two-page preliminary report Thursday. Authorities have said they were investigating if there was a night watchman on duty at the time.

The report comes a day after divers recovered the remains of the last missing victim, one of dozens who were trapped below deck.

The Coast Guard has released additional safety recommendations in the wake of the Sept. 2 tragedy, such as limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords.

The FBI, Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles are conducting a criminal investigation.

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12:06 a.m.

The Coast Guard has issued additional safety recommendations in the aftermath of a fatal boat fire off the Southern California coast that killed 34 people.

The recommendations include limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords.

Officials expect to release a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday.

Investigators are delving into the cause of the Sept. 2 fire and working to recover the Conception amid an ongoing criminal probe conducted by the FBI, Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Divers have recovered the remains of all 34 victims — 21 women and 13 men ranging from 16 to 62 years old — who apparently died of smoke inhalation as they were trapped below a raging fire.

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