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Search for two people underway after boat fire off Venice Pier

The Coast Guard and fire authorities were looking for two people who a witness said had been on the burning boat.

November 18, 2009|By Robert J. Lopez

Authorities were searching for at least two people who may have been on a vessel that caught fire Tuesday afternoon in the waters off Venice Pier.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Los Angeles County Fire Department had dispatched vessels to search for the boaters, authorities said.

"We have a witness who saw two people on the boat," said Sgt. Bernie Patrick of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "We no longer know where those people are."

The 20-foot boat caught fire about two miles from the pier, authorities said. A column of dark smoke could be seen drifting from the distressed vessel. The blaze was reported about 4:45 p.m.

Firefighting boats extinguished the flames, and authorities said they would tow the burned vessel to shore as part of their investigation.

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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