At 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency in response to the Conception dive boat incident.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 2, the U.S. Coast Guard and partnering agencies responded to a vessel fire off the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, near Platt’s Harbor in Santa Barbara County.

Emergency responders encountered the “Conception,” a 75-foot commercial diving boat based out of the Santa Barbara Harbor, fully engulfed in fire.

The vessel sank to the ocean floor at approximately 7:20 a.m.

Proclaiming a local state of emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents. It ensures that all county resources are available for emergency response and supporting activities.

The passenger vessel had 39 passengers aboard, including the crew.

As of the signing of the proclamation, there have been 33 confirmed deaths, the underwater search for one person is still ongoing, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Coroner has requested specialized personnel and equipment from outside of the Santa Barbara County Operational Area to assist with the recovery, and timely and compassionate identification of these individuals.

Gina DePinto is the communications manager for Santa Barbara County.