Loved Ones Mourn Those Who Died in California Boat Fire

Playing Mom of Boat Fire Victim 'Never Thought' She'd Go Through This

Loved ones are coming to grips with the worst news — officials have now called off the search for victims of the deadly California boat fire.

At this point, mom Cherie McDonough is just trying to figure out why. She traveled from Ohio to California to mourn her 25-year old daughter, Allie Kurtz. Kurtz worked at Paramount Pictures, but decided to chase her dream of scuba diving.

"I never thought I would ever have to go through this," McDonough told KCBS.

The vessel, called the Conception, burst into flames early Monday morning off the coast of Santa Cruz Island.

"It's our mission here while we're on scene is to determine how this happened, why it happened and to figure out what safety improvements are needed to prevent it from ever happening again," said Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Five crew members who were sleeping on the top deck were able to escape by jumping off and taking a small boat to safety. But at least 34 people on board are presumed dead. 

Authorities say the flames blocked an escape hatch and stairwell to the area where passengers were sleeping.

Investigators are currently working to determine how the tragedy unfolded.

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