Authorities identify 5 more victims of California boat fire
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities identified five additional victims Tuesday as divers searched for the last missing passenger who died in a fatal boat fire off the coast of California.
As the families mourned, officials pursued a criminal investigation into the blaze that killed 34 people on Labor Day.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the victims, 21 women and 13 men from 16 to 62 years old, appear to have died from smoke inhalation before they were burned. Five of six crew members, including the captain, survived after multiple efforts to rescue the dozens trapped below deck.
Authorities said efforts to find the final victim and salvage the Conception are expected to continue Wednesday.
The five additional victims, all from California, are Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, of Sacramento; Lisa Fiedler, 52, of Mill Valley; Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, of Santa Cruz; Fernisa Sison, 57, of Stockton, and Kristian Takvam, 34, of San Francisco.
Finstad, a marine biologist who led the scuba tour, had led hundreds of dives in the Channel Islands. She had just returned from spending several years sailing across the Pacific with her husband.
Fiedler, a Michigan native, was a hairdresser and photographer who thought of herself as “part fish” because of her ocean addiction.
The other three victims identified Tuesday were on the boat with coworkers and loved ones.
Sison’s husband, Michael Quitasol, and her three stepdaughters also perished in the fire. Sison and Quitasol worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton.
Dahood-Fritz and her husband, professional photographer Andrew Fritz, also both died in the blaze. Dahood-Fritz had recently started a job as a senior environmental scientist for California’s Ocean Protection Council under the California Natural Resources Agency.
Takvam was a vice president of engineering at the education platform Brilliant in San Francisco. His coworker, Carrie McLaughlin, also died.
Authorities were working to identify the last victims and release their remains to families.
As part of the investigation, the FBI is seeking photos and videos related to the fire as multiple agencies examine whether the captain and boat owners followed safety requirements.