Efforts to recover the Conception and the remains of the final passenger were suspended Friday afternoon and will remain suspended through Monday due to high winds and an increase in swells and currents off the shores of Santa Cruz Island, according to authorities.
A statement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department issued Saturday described the process as “slow and deliberate,” stressing the importance of maintaining the integrity of the vessel.
“At the time the salvage efforts were suspended, the vessel had been up-righted, but remains underwater,” said Lt. Erik Raney, sheriff’s spokesman. “The vessel has been secured underwater, where it will remain until salvage operations resume, which is expected to be early next week.”
Search efforts for the last missing person are expected to resume when salvage operations continue, Lt. Raney said.
The owner of the vessel hired Global Diving and Salvage to retrieve the dive boat and the U.S. Coast Guard continues to oversee the implementation of the salvage plan. The Coast Guard Cutter Halibut is at Santa Cruz Island and is maintaining the security of the site and enforcing a one-mile safety zone.
Environmental concerns will be mitigated in coordination with National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and California Office of Spill Prevention and Response.