NewsLocal News


‘They will be truly missed.’ Man loses 5 family members in Conception boat fire

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 21:07:17-04

Steve Quitasol lost 5 members of his family aboard the Conception dive boat this past Labor Day.

Fernisa Sison, her husband, Michael Quitasol, and his three daughters, Angela, Evan, and Nicole were killed when the boat caught fire and sank off Santa Cruz Island. There were among 34 people who died in the disaster.

"I had five loved ones on the ship - my brother, his wife and three nieces, his daughters," Quitasol said.

The past few days have been anything but easy for Quitasol, but he says that seeing the growing memorial at the Santa Barbara Harbor demonstrates to him that there is still humanity during a tragedy.

"It has been rough," he said. "Uplifting to know they are with someone special but difficult because of what happened."

Jana Rimelle is visiting California from Germany and has plans to drive up the coast. She said she heard about the deadly boat fire and wanted to pay her respects during her stay in Santa Barbara.

"We talked to a man before and he just showed us the spot where the boats are parking and where this boat (the Conception) parked always," Rimelle said. "It is just crazy to see it. We didn't know the people but it's just, they have families."

Quitasol says the world has lost strength with the passing of his family members.

"All I can say is that I love them all. There is sadness in me," he said. "They will be truly missed."

Quitasol also says that some of his family members were first responders and another was a teacher and that all were selfless individuals who gave back to their communities.