Scuba diving boat disaster :20 bodies recovered

Search operations were suspended Tuesday for survivors of a scuba-diving boat disaster off the California coast after divers recovered 20 bodies and spotted another four to six trapped in underwater wreckage.

The remains of 11 women and nine men were transferred to coroner offices after the 75-foot (23-meter) Conception caught fire and sank Monday, trapping below-deck passengers beneath the roaring blaze.

“Today we will begin the process of mapping DNA profiles of the 20 victims that we have recovered so far, so that they can be compared with family samples,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told a news conference.

The boat had been on a diving excursion around Santa Cruz Island, just west of Santa Barbara in southern California, when disaster struck early Monday.

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