California boat fire: Four dead, 29 missing near Santa Cruz Island

Four bodies have been recovered and 29 people are still missing after a boat was destroyed by fire off the coast of California, the US Coast Guard says.

Five people on board the commercial diving boat Conception were rescued.

The fire started in the early hours of Monday. The boat was anchored just metres off Santa Cruz Island, about 145km (90 miles) west of Los Angeles.

The vessel is now submerged as a search and rescue operation continues in foggy conditions.

Coastguard services overheard a mayday call at 03:30 local time (10:30 GMT), saying that the boat was engulfed in flames, according to Capt Monica Rochester, the coastguard sector commander for Long Beach, Ventura County.

Reports say some passengers may have been trapped below deck.

Those who were rescued may have been sleeping in the main cabin of the boat rather than below.

They were awake before rescue teams arrived and had jumped off the bridge of the boat. One survivor has minor injuries.

The bow of vessel is still sticking out of the water.

It was used for chartered trips in the Channel Islands National Park.

It sank 20 yards (18m) off the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, at the depth of 64ft (20m).