‘Below Deck Med’: What’s the One Thing No Captain Wants to Hear?

Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean reacted to the horrific fire aboard a boat that killed more than 20 off the Southern California coast.

The safety-first captain reacted on Twitter to the devastating news. “More heartbreaking news. Something no Captain wants to hear, fire. Pray they find survivors,” she tweeted.

'Flying Fox', one of the top 20 largest superyachts in the world
‘Flying Fox’, one of the top 20 largest superyachts in the world|Soner Aydin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Fans are also shocked. “I live here in Ventura county at the channel Islands marina and everybody is a state of shock over this. I was just at the Santa Barbara marina last night. It is the saddest day here,” one fan commented.

The worst maritime disaster in Southern California

The Conception, which is a recreational dive boat, was carrying 39 people. By the day’s end on Monday, 20 bodies were recovered, The New York Times reports. Bob Hansen, who was staying aboard a neighboring vessel was jolted awake by five distraught people who escaped the fire.

“I could see the fire coming through holes on the side of the boat,” Hanson told The New York Times. “There were these explosions every few beats. You can’t prepare yourself for that. It was horrendous.”

Conception memorial
A pair of diving fins and flowers at a memorial wall near the Truth Aquatics moorings|MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

The Ventura County Marine radio channel shared the recording of the distress call as the boat was engulfed in flames. A man is heard calling “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” The man seems overwhelmed and terrified. “I can’t breathe!” he then screams. Thus far, the cause of the fire is still unknown and the vessel was in full compliance, according to a Coast Guard spokesperson.

The fire may have started in the galley kitchen

Although no official cause has been named, Greg Ricketts, a former manager with the Federal Aviation Administration told USA Today he thinks the fire may have possibly started in the kitchen. He thought it was likely to be a “galley fire, making it impossible for the crew to reach the guests and the guests unable to evacuate.”

The Truth Aquatics website shared Conception’s layout which showed a single set of stairs from the below deck sleeping quarters to the deck. If the fire started in the galley kitchen it may have blocked an escape off the vessel.

Galley kitchen
Chefs prepare meals inside a kitchen aboard the 217 feet long superyacht Natita | Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People who know the vessel assert it only had one exit, which meant there was no way out below deck unless crew went up the stairs. Aaron Roland,  who has traveled on Conception said he finds it “hard to understand why two exits (are) not required.”

The fire hits home

Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck also reacted to the fire. A fan commented about the lack of exits. “And from new sources locked below and couldn’t get out,” Rosbach tweeted. “Yet to be verified, but as far as I know the crew are the only ones to survive. Sad.”

A galley kitchen fire broke out when Rosbach and crew traveled aboard Eros during season three. Chief stew Kate Chastain and third stew Rocky Dakota were up late feeding the guests when a fire erupted inside the galley kitchen stove. Thankfully the crew was alert and quickly extinguished the flames before they got out of hand.

Leon Walker
Leon Walker |Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

But Rosbach was furious … and with good reason. The fire was ultimately blamed on a dirty oven. Chef Leon Walker, who clashed with Chastain the entire season, was fired.