Following the horrific Conception dive boat fire in 2019, which claimed 34 lives, the general consensus has been that the victims died of smoke inhalation whilst sleeping.
Over time this theory was disputed as some of those who died were found wearing shoes. This lead investigators to believe that they were trying to evacuate the vessel during the fire.
According to federal investigators and a recent article in the LA Times, mobile phone footage shot during the fire clearly shows passengers trying to evacuate, in the aftermath of the crew abandoning the boat into the water.
The footage which was retrieved from a victim’s badly damaged mobile phone shows the passengers relatively calm yet unable to find a route to disembark due to the increasing smoke and growing intensity of the fire.
By the time the video was recorded, investigators have concluded, flames had engulfed the Conception’s main deck and galley, blocking the stairway to the bunk room as well as a small emergency hatch. A Santa Barbara County coroner’s report determined all 34 people died of smoke inhalation. The only survivors were the five crew members who jumped into the water.