Final body recovered from Labor Day dive boat fire

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Authorities Wednesday said they recovered the final body that has been missing since a dive boat caught fire off Santa Cruz Island early Labor Day morning.

Thirty-four people were reported missing — most had likely been sleeping below deck — after the dive boat caught fire in the early hours of September 2. Five others — four crew members and the captain — were able to escape as the fire spread, but the other 34 passengers were presumed dead as search teams looked for bodies in the days that followed. A report issued last week said officials believed the passengers died of smoke inhalation rather than from burns suffered in the fire.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the 34th body had been recovered by search and recovery teams.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service served search warrants to the boat’s owners, Truth Aquatics, over the weekend. Federal law enforcement agencies launched a criminal investigation into the fire on Monday.

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