California boat fire: Family five among 34 dead, relatives say


Five members of a California family who were celebrating a birthday are among the 34 people assumed dead in a fire on a scuba diving boat. Relatives said Michael Quitasol, his daughters Evan, Nicole and Angela Quitasol, and his wife, Fernisa Sison, were on the Conception.

Twenty-five bodies have been recovered from the wreck so far and authorities are working to identify them. The boat caught fire on Monday while passengers slept below decks.

On Tuesday the search for survivors was called off. Of the 39 people on board, just five – all crew – survived by jumping overboard. A sixth member of the crew is also thought to have been trapped below. The cause of the blaze is unknown but an investigation is under way. The Conception is currently underwater near Santa Cruz Island, about 90 miles (145km) west of Los Angeles.

Susana Solano Rosas said “with a broken heart” that her three daughters had died along with her ex-husband and his wife. “The authorities do not have much to say to us,” Mrs Rosas wrote. “Thank you to all of you for your support prayers and good wishes.” Her partner, Chris Rosas, told the Los Angeles Times that Evan was an emergency department nurse, Nicole was a bartender and Angela was a middle school science teacher. “They were outstanding girls. That’s about all I can tell you right now.” Mr Rosas said. The family was on the boat celebrating Mr Quitasol’s birthday, relatives said.(BBC)…[+]