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The body of the last missing victim of last week’s deadly boat fire off the Southern California coast has been recovered by divers, authorities said Wednesday.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced the end of the search on Twitter, saying it was “relieved to report” the final victim had been found.
The sheriff’s office added that authorities were still conducting DNA tests on 7 of the 34 victims to confirm their identities.
STATE-OF-THE-ART MILITARY TECH — ‘RAPID DNA’ — IS USED TO ID VICTIMS OF CALIFORNIA DIVE BOAT FIRE
The cause of the Sept. 2 fire has yet to be determined.
Salvage efforts to recover the Conception — which authorities have said is expected to aid the investigation — resumed this week after several days of weather delays.
Five of the Conception’s six crew members survived and told investigators they made multiple attempts to save people who were trapped below deck.
Authorities have said they are looking at several factors in their investigation, including how batteries and electronics were stored and charged. They also will look into how the crew was trained and what crewmembers were doing at the time of the fire, which erupted in the middle of the night as the passengers slept.
The FBI, Coast Guard and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles are conducting a criminal investigation, and the Coast Guard has convened a formal Marine Board of Investigation.
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The four members of the board will look into “pre-accident historical events, the regulatory compliance of the Conception, crewmember duties and qualifications, weather conditions and reporting, safety and firefighting equipment, and Coast Guard oversight.”
That investigation is expected to take at least a year. The panel will seek to determine the factors that led to the fire, any possible evidence of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful ignorance of the law, and if any other factors caused or contributed to the deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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