“My heart breaks for those onboard the Conception,” the actor tweeted Monday. “An unspeakable horror on a boat I’ve been on many times. My prayers and thoughts are with the families.”
A crew member contacted the U.S. Coast Guard around 3:30 a.m. Monday with a mayday call as the boat was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz island in Southern California, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. At that point, the blaze had already engulfed the 75-foot boat.
Five members of the crew were rescued but the remaining 34 people on board, many of whom were asleep below deck when the fire erupted, were unaccounted for. As of early Tuesday, 25 bodies had been found and the search continued for the other nine. Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said the public should prepare for “the worst outcome.”
In a recording of the distress call released by The Los Angeles Times, a man can be heard yelling, “I can’t breathe” before telling a dispatcher the passengers “can’t get off” and that “there’s no escape hatch for any of the people on board.”
Local, state and federal authorities are still working to determine how the tragedy occurred.
The boat, operated by Truth Aquatics, was on a four-day diving trip that began over the Labor Day weekend.