Published: Wed, September 04, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

California Dive Boat Fire Victims (2019)

California Dive Boat Fire Victims (2019)

He was supposed to go on the ill-fated trip over Labor Day weekend.

"It's upside down in relatively shallow water with receding tides that are moving it around", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. Authorities have interviewed them but haven't said what efforts they made to help the 34 people trapped aboard before abandoning ship.

The fire broke out about 3am on Monday as the Conception was anchored off Santa Cruz Island.

Brett Harmeling with his sister Kristy Finstad, who is believed to be among the victims of a deadly boat fire in southern California.

Reports said the crew members were sleeping on an upper deck while the passengers were down below, but that could not be confirmed.

"I could see the fire coming through holes on the side of the boat", he said. An investigation is under way "to try to find out why this tragedy happened", Rochester said.

Brown says the recovered remains include 11 females and nine males and DNA will be used to identify them.

He says five others have been found but not recovered due to unsafe conditions under the boat, which sank in about 60 feet (18 meters) of water.

Makeshift memorials are being placed near Sea Landing at the Santa Barbara Harbor, home port for the Conception commercial dive boat, which caught fire and sank Monday, killing at least eight people, with 26 still missing.

Sheriff Brown stated the crew has provided written statements and will be formally interviewed today but this is information they can not release at this point. She confirmed there's no indication at this point that any of the below-deck passengers were able to make it out of the sleeping area.

Rosas posted that her daughters - Evan, Nicole and Angela Rose Quitasol - were with their father Michael Quitasol and stepmother Fernisa Sison, and thanked people for their prayers and support.

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School director Maria C. Reitano declined Tuesday to say how many students went on the trip, which was not sponsored by the school. They were continuing to search for survivors, but Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester cautioned that it was unlikely anyone else would be found alive.

According to the website of its shipowner Truth Aquatics, the "Conception", built in 1981, left Santa Barbara on Saturday at dawn for an excursion dedicated to scuba diving in the neighboring islands, an extremely touristy area. The fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m. Monday as the boat sat anchored in Platt's Harbor off Santa Cruz Island.

"When we looked out, the other boat was totally engulfed in flames, from stem to stern", Hansen said.

But he said 34 passengers who were sleeping below deck have not been accounted for. Two of the crew suffered minor injuries, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.

"Once I got on scene there was only one fire boat trying to put out the fire", Amaral said Tuesday.

Sheriff Brown said that oxygen or propane tanks could have exploded during the fire, but there was no sign this sparked the blaze.

Investigators have received written accounts from the five survivors and planned to interview them, Brown said. She was co-owner of Worldwide Diving Adventures based in Santa Cruz.

The actor also revealed in a Twitter post that he had been on the same boat "many times" before.

Between four and six victims were seen in the wreckage on Monday, but they were unable to be recovered before nightfall.

She says the trip was not school-sponsored.

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