No Cause Determined After Two-Week Examination Into Dive Boat Fire, AP Reports

The blaze is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, led by the Coast Guard, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, as well as a safety inquiry by the National Transportation Safety Board

A law enforcement official says investigators that examined the burned-out wreckage of a scuba diving boat haven't been able to determine what ignited a fire that killed 34 people off the California coast, the Associated Press reported Friday.

An official with knowledge of the investigation told AP that a two-week examination of the Conception ended Friday without a conclusive cause. The person wasn't authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, the AP reported. The official says parts of the vessel have been sent to labs for additional testing.

An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, one of the investigating agencies, told NBC News Friday that the investigation into the origin and cause of the fire is actively ongoing. 

The ATF is conducting a forensic examination of evidence. The burned wreckage of the 75-foot boat was raised from the ocean floor Sept. 12, nearly two weeks after the Labor Day disaster north of Santa Cruz Island. 

The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report issued earlier this month offered a brief timeline of the early morning fire, but did not identify a cause. The reports are usually summaries of early findings based on interview and a preliminary investigation.

The NTSB report was released as recommendations were issued by the Coast Guard that include limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and the use of power strips and extension cords.

Investigators have said they're looking into whether anyone was assigned lookout duty in accordance with Coast Guard rules.

Five crewmembers who jumped overboard survived after their efforts to help passengers and another crewmember in a sleeping compartment below deck were blocked by flames and smoke. All 33 passengers and the one crewmember who died have been identified.

The blaze is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, led by the Coast Guard, the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, as well as a safety inquiry by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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