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All 34 Conception boat fire victims positively identified

Posted at 3:59 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 22:34:59-04

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says investigators have identified all of the victims of the Conception dive boat fire and notified their loved ones.

Thirty-four people were killed when the boat caught fire and sank off Santa Cruz Island early Labor Day morning.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Brown read all 34 names:

  • Carol Diana Adamic, 60, Santa Cruz
  • Juha Pekka Ahopelto, 50, Sunnyvale
  • Neal Gustav Baltz, 42, Phoenix, AZ
  • Patricia Ann Beitzinger, 48, Chandler, AZ
  • Vaidehi Campbell, 41, Felton
  • Raymond "Scott" Chan, 59, Los Altos
  • Kendra Chan, 26, Oxnard
  • Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, Sacramento
  • Justin Carroll Dignam, 58, Anaheim
  • Berenice Felipe, 16, Santa Cruz
  • Lisa Fiedler, 52, Mill Valley
  • Kristina "Kristy" Finstad, 41, Santa Cruz
  • Andrew Fritz, 40, Sacramento
  • Daniel Garcia, 46, Berkeley
  • Marybeth Guiney, 51, Santa Monica
  • Yuko Hatano, 39, San Jose
  • Yulia Krashennaya, 40, Berkeley
  • Alexandra Kurtz, 26, Santa Barbara
  • Xiang Lin, 45, Fremont
  • Caroline McLaughlin, 35, Oakland
  • Charles McIlvain, 44, Santa Monica
  • Kaustubh Nirmal, 33, Stamford, CT
  • Sanjeeri DeoPujari (Nirmal), 31, Stamford, CT
  • Angela Rose Quitasol, 28, Stockton
  • Evan Michel Quitasol, 37, Stockton
  • Nicole Storm Quitasol, 31, Imperial Beach
  • Michael Quitasol, 62, Stockton
  • Steven Salika, 55, Santa Cruz
  • Tia Salika-Adamic, 17, Santa Cruz
  • Sumil Sandhu, 45, Half Moon Bay
  • Fernisa Sison, 57, Stockton
  • Ted Strom, 62, Germantown, TN
  • Kristian Takvam, 34, San Francisco
  • Wei Tan, 26, Goleta

"May they all rest in peace and may their families know that all of us who have been involved in this sad operation continue to hold them in our hearts and in our prayers," Brown said.

The sheriff said the final victim was recovered Wednesday in a cove just west of Platts Harbor, where the Conception was anchored when the fire broke out.

DNA was used to positively identify 33 of the victims. The remaining victim was identified using fingerprints, according to the sheriff, who says a positive DNA identification is pending a familial sample from overseas.

The sheriff attributed the relatively quick identification process to the help of the Sacramento County Coroner's Office, which brought down a rapid DNA analysis device that was previously used to help identify Camp Fire victims.

Sheriff Brown added that efforts to salvage the Conception have so far been successful. He said crews raised the boat from the water on Thursday and were preparing to lift it onto a barge where it would be transported to an undisclosed, secure location for further investigation.

Brown said federal agencies are now taking the lead on the investigation into the disaster and that the sheriff's office would continue to support those efforts.