NewsCovering Kern County


What we know about the victims in deadly blaze off Santa Cruz Island

Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-03 21:33:13-04

(KABC) — The day after a fire roared through a scuba-diving boat off the coast of Ventura County, portraits were emerging of the 34 victims who are presumed dead in the tragedy.

Almost all of the deceased are believed to have been passengers aboard the 75-foot Conception, which erupted in flames while anchored near Santa Cruz Island during a planned three-day excursion.

The captain and four members of the crew survived the inferno by jumping overboard and floating to safety in an inflatable boat. One crew member and 33 passengers are believed to have perished after being trapped on board the Conception:

Kristy Finstad
Kristy Finstad is listed online as a diving instructor, marine biologist and co-owner of Worldwide Diving Adventures out of Santa Cruz.

"Kristy was full of love and she had a really fun and dynamic way of showing people that she cared about them," said her brother, Brett Harmeling.

The Quitasol family:
One family had five members on board the Conception. In a Facebook post, Susana Solano Rosas said her three daughters - Evan Michel Solano Quitasol, Nicole Storm Quitasol and Angela Rose Quitasol - were among the missing, in addition to their father, Michael Storm Quitasol, and their stepmother.

Evan Quitasol
"We were extremely saddened to learn the tragic news that one of our nurses, Evan Quitasol, was on board the Conception," St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton said in a statement. "We held a prayer gathering in our Chapel this morning to offer comfort and support to our hospital family."

Michael Quitasol
A former longtime staff member at St. Joseph's Medical Center, according to the medical facility, which said Michael Quitasol was aboard the doomed boat with his daughter, Evan Quitasol.

Nicole Quitasol
Nicole worked for a Coronado restaurant called Nicky Rottens. The restaurant set up a GoFundMe pageto help the Quitasol family.

"Nicole has worked with our Nicky Rottens Coronado family for years, and she will be remembered as an adventurous & loving soul. Our hearts are broken and we can't imagine the pain her family feels," the restaurant wrote.

Angela Rose Quitasol
Angela Rose Quitasol and two of her sisters were part of the scuba trip, their mother announced "with a broken heart." The three adult siblings were accompanied by their father and stepmother. Lincoln Unified School District said she was a teacher at Sierra Middle School for four years and was a former student in the district.

Fernisa Sison
St. Joseph's Medical Center said Sison was a former longtime staff member at the hospital. "Our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones of those on board the Conception," the hospital said.

Scott Chan
Scott Chan, a teacher at American High School in Fremont, and his daughter were among those on the boat that erupted in flames and sank, according to the Fremont Union High School District. Chan taught AP physics at the school for the last three years.
"Mr. Chan was a beloved teacher at AHS among students and colleagues," the school district said. "His students knew him to be an innovative and inspiring teacher who developed a passion for physics among his students. His loss is a tremendous tragedy for our school district."

This story was written by KABC.