#scuba Conception boat fire: Company indefinitely suspends all diving operations – San Francisco Chronicle

October 2, 2019 - Comment

The owner of a scuba diving company announced Tuesday it will indefinitely suspend operations almost a month after 34 people — many from the Bay Area and Santa Cruz — were killed in a fire during a chartered trip aboard one of its boats. Truth Aquatics Inc., based in Santa Barbara, made the announcement on


The owner of a scuba diving company announced Tuesday it will indefinitely suspend operations almost a month after 34 people — many from the Bay Area and Santa Cruz — were killed in a fire during a chartered trip aboard one of its boats.

Truth Aquatics Inc., based in Santa Barbara, made the announcement on its Facebook page, saying it wanted to dedicate its resources to working with ongoing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard, as well as make their remaining two boats “models of new regulations.”

“With the continued calls and request for tours, we want to announce that we are officially suspending all operations of our Truth Aquatic fleet for a to-be-determined amount of time,” the post reads. “We apologize to our customers who have been seeking reservations as well as those with reservations — and truly appreciate the expressions of support.”

The company’s dive boat Conception was destroyed during the Sept. 2 fire near Santa Barbara that killed all the passengers on board and one crew member. Five crew members managed to escape the fire.

Authorities are investigating how the fire started and the crew’s response to the below-deck inferno. Federal investigators determined no crew member was awake performing the mandatory night watch when the blaze broke out. The Coast Guard also initiated warnings to boaters about the dangers of charging lithium-ion batteries, often used in diving equipment.

No cause of the fire has been determined.

A request for comment from the boat owner’s attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

The Santa Barbara-based company has operated since 1974 and led boat trips to destinations off the coast of Southern and Central California. Dozens of divers responded to the Facebook post with messages of support.

“We look forward to future trips with Truth Aquatics,” one wrote. “Good to see you guys ahead of the curve in making things better from what can be learned and improved from the tragedy.”

Matthias Gafni is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: matthias.gafni@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

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