Four more Northern Californians named as victims in Conception dive boat fire

Four more people from Northern California have been named as victims in the tragic dive boat fire that killed 34 people Monday near an island off the Southern California coast.

Carrie McLaughlin and Kristian Takvam, coworkers who lived in Northern California, were on the Conception, which was anchored in Platt’s Harbor off Santa Cruz Island when it became fully engulfed in flames as passengers slept below deck.

They both worked for San Francisco-based Brilliant, a website that creates interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. McLaughlin was a senior software engineer and Takvam was vice president of engineering.

“The loss of Carrie and Kristian is deeply heartbreaking for all of us at Brilliant,” Sue Khim, CEO of Brilliant said in a statement. “Carrie and Kristian were incredible friends and colleagues who brought immense passion, talent, leadership, and warmth, and they will be missed dearly. Our hearts are with their families and friends.”

Sacramento residents Andrew Fritz, 40, and his wife, Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, were also on the boat.

The couple had moved to Sacramento only 15 months ago and previously lived in Taylor, Texas. The Austin American-Statesmen reported they were avid photographers and enjoyed volunteering with animals. Fritz was a photography teacher and Dahood-Fritz was a research scientist who traveled to Antarctica often.

ALSO: Apple confirms two employees among dead in dive boat fire

High school students, a science teacher and his daughter, an adventurous marine biologist and a family of five celebrating a birthday, are among the victims, and the majority of those who have been named are from Northern California and specifically the Bay Area.

Steve Salika, a senior manager at Apple in Cupertino, was on the Conception with his wife, Diana Adamic, and their daughter Tia. Salika’s coworker at Apple, Dan Garcia, also died in the fire.

Los Altos father Raymond “Scott” Chan and his 26-year-old daughter, Kendra, have been named as victims. Chan was a physics teacher at American High School in Fremont, and his 26-year-old daughter, Kendra, was a wildlife biologist.

Santa Cruz marine biologist and diving instructor Kristy Finstad is another victim; she is the co-owner of Worldwide Diving Adventures, the company that chartered the dive boat. Lisa Fielder, 52, of Mill Valley was a Michigan native who worked as a hair stylist and nature photographer.

Authorities said Wednesday the bodies of 33 of the 34 presumed dead had been recovered.

Five crew members, including the captain, managed to escape after Monday’s pre-dawn fire that engulfed the boat named Conception as the victims slept below decks near the island of Santa Cruz during a three-day scuba diving excursion. The vessel eventually sank and overturned, making the recovery of bodies challenging.

Flames moved so quickly through the 75-foot (23-meter) vessel that it blocked a narrow stairway and an escape hatch leading to the upper decks, giving those below virtually no chance of escaping, authorities said.

DNA will be needed to identify the victims. Authorities will use the same rapid analysis tool that identified victims of the deadly wildfire that devastated the Northern California town of Paradise last year, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Amy Graff is a digital editor for SFGATE. Email her at agraff@sfgate.com.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/dive-boat-victims-Northern-California-Bay-Area-14416686.php.

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