Notable Deaths ›

California Dive Boat Fire Victims (2019)

Getty Images / Mario Tama

At least 20 have died after a fire broke out on a commercial diving boat near Santa Cruz Island

Thirty-four people have died or are presumed dead after the commercial diving boat Conception sank after catching fire off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, near Santa Barbara, California, on Monday morning. 

Thirty-nine people were on board the boat, 33 passengers and six crew members. Five of the crew members have been rescued. Authorities have said that the missing are feared dead. 

The Conception was beginning the final day of a three-day trip to San Miguel Island, near Santa Barbara. As the fire broke out in the early morning hours, many were still sleeping belowdecks. It has been speculated that the fire may have trapped them in their sleeping quarters. 

No information about the cause of the fire is available. Firefighters arrived on the scene quickly, but they were unable to extinguish the fire. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom stated, “Our hearts are with the families and loved ones affected by this tragic incident. As we wait to hear more, we are eternally grateful for our heroic first responders that are on site — working to ensure that every individual is found.” 

Some of the names of the boat’s passengers, who are dead or presumed dead, have been released: 

Diana Adamic was a longtime volunteer at the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter. She was on the ship celebrating her daughter's 17th birthday with her husband, their daughter, and their daughter's friend.

Neil Baltz was an Arizona resident who was aboard the Conception along with his partner, Patricia Beitzinger. 

Patricia Beitzinger was an Arizona resident who was aboard the Conception along with her partner, Neil Baltz. 

Kendra Chan, 26, was a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ventura, California. She was aboard the Conception with her father, Scott. 

Scott Chan was a physics teacher at American High School in Fremont, California, who was aboard the Conception with his daughter, Kendra.  

Adrian Dahood-Fritz was a marine scientist and policy advisor with California's Ocean Protection Council.

Sanjeeri Deopujari was a dentist in New York City.

Justin Dignam was the founder of Big Fish Employer Services. 

Berenice Felipe, 16, was a student at Pacific Collegiate School. She was on the ship with her friend, Tia Salika, and the Salika family.

Lisa Fiedler, 52, was a hardresser who also loved nature photography.

Kristy Finstad, 41, was a marine biologist who was leading a dive trip on the Conception at the time of the tragedy. She was the owner of Worldwide Diving Adventures. 

Andrew Fritz was a professional photographer.

Dan Garcia worked for Apple.

Marybeth Guiney, of Santa Monica and a native of Massachusetts, was a sales director.

Yulia Krashennaya was a product manager for Spiralinks.

Allie Kurtz, 25, was a deckhand on the Conception, the only of the crew members to die. She had worked for Paramount Pictures but recently quit her job to work on dive boats.  

Charles “Chuck” McIlvain, of Santa Monica, California, worked for Sony Pictures Imageworks. 

Carrie McLaughlin was a senior software engineer with educational platform Brilliant.

Kaustubh Nirmal worked in finance in New York.

Angela Quitasol, 28, was one of five family members who were aboard the Conception together and are all presumed dead. She was a middle school science teacher in Stockton, California. 

Evan Quitasol, 37, was one of five family members who were aboard the Conception together and are all presumed dead. She was a nurse in the emergency department of a hospital in the Stockton, California area. 

Michael Quitasol was one of five family members who were aboard the Conception together and are all presumed dead. He worked for Kaiser Permanente Central Valley. The family took the dive trip to celebrate his birthday. 

Nicole Quitasol, 31, was one of five family members who were aboard the Conception together and are all presumed dead. She was a bartender at a lounge in Coronado, California. 

Steve Salika was a senior manager at Apple. He was on the ship celebrating his daughter's 17th birthday with his wife, their daughter, and their daughter's friend.

Tia Salika, 17, was a student at Pacific Collegiate School. She was on the ship celebrating her 17th birthday with her parents and her friend.

Sunil Singh Sanhu was a senior scientist for Pointcloud.

Fernisa Sison was one of five family members who were aboard the Conception together and are all presumed dead. She worked for Kaiser Permanente Central Valley. 

Ted Strom, 62, of Germantown, Tennessee, worked for the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center,

Kristian Takvam was vice president of engineering for education platform Brilliant.

Wei Tan, of Santa Barbara, California, worked for Evidation Health.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.

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Full coverage:

Los Angeles Times 

The Mercury News

The Orange County Register


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