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Thirty-three people are dead and one person is missing after tragic boat fire near Santa Barbara on September 2, 2019. The boat was about 20 miles off the California coast, near Santa Cruz Island.

Thirty-nine people, including crew members, were on board the Conception dive boat for a three-day-long scuba diving trip when the fire occurred. Five crew members survived after jumping overboard, swimming to an inflatable boat at Conception’s stern and paddling it to a ship which was anchored nearby. The other 34 people were asleep below deck and were unable to escape. Thirty-three bodies have been recovered as of September 4, 2019. Search efforts continue in the effort to find the last unaccounted-for ship passenger who was on the boat. DNA testing will be needed to identify the victims.

Nadrich & Cohen and its legal teams are actively investigating claims on behalf of loved ones who lost a family member aboard the Conception dive boat. If you are a family member of one of the victims, our attorneys can help you make a claim against the owners of the dive boat. While compensation can never replace the loss of a loved one, our hope is to assist families in bringing justice on behalf of the victims. If you lost a loved one in the Conception boat fire disaster, immediately call us today at 1-800-718-4658 for a free, confidential consultation. Our attorneys and partners have extensive experience handling maritime, fire and wrongful death cases in California. Our attorneys are available to meet with families in the U.S. or worldwide.

Nadrich & Cohen’s attorneys and legal teams have the resources to go the distance and fight on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation by using the live chat feature, completing the contact form on this page, or calling 1-800-718-4658.

Safety Hazards Aboard The Conception Dive Boat

conception boat fire lawsuit

Marjorie Murtagh Cooke, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Office of Marine Safety’s former director, said that the sleeping quarters of boats, by law, must contain two exits for escape and that both exits from Conception’s sleeping quarters “bring you up inside the vessel.” She said that if both escape routes from the sleeping quarters funnel passengers into the same area, which is apparently one large room, a fire in that room could possibly block the only escape path for passengers.

“With 30-plus people dying, the investigation could lead to changes in the way vessels are designed or protected depending on the findings,” she said.

“There was a stairwell to get down the main entryway, up and down, and there was an escape hatch. And it would appear as though both of those were blocked by fire,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

Why Did The Conception Dive Boat Owners File A Lawsuit?

Conception’s owners moved quickly to file a lawsuit on September 5th, 2019, seeking to limit their liability and costly litigation. The lawsuit, filed under an 1851 provision of maritime law, means anyone who can file a claim against the owners will be served with a notice that the owners are asserting they’re not liable for damages and that any victims will have a limited time period to challenge that claim. The owners must show they were not at fault for the disaster in order to prevail with their lawsuit.

The attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen believe that the swift filing of the lawsuit by the ship’s owners is unusual and extremely insensitive to victim’s families, whose family members have yet to be identified. While the cause of the fire is not yet known, many safety violations are believed to have existed aboard the Conception boat at the time of the tragic fire. NTSB may release a preliminary report within 10 days of the fire. However, a final report could take up to two years to be released.

Victims Of The Conception Boat Fire

The following is a list of names of people who, as of September 4, 2019, are confirmed to have been aboard the Conception dive boat when it caught fire:

  • Carol Diana Adamic
  • Neal Gustav Baltz
  • Patricia Ann Beitzinger
  • Vaidehi Campbell
  • Kendra Chan
  • Raymond Scott Chan
  • Justin Carroll Dignam
  • Lisa Fiedler
  • Kristy Finstad
  • Andrew Fritz
  • Dan Garcia
  • Marybeth Guiney
  • Mike Kohls
  • Yulia Krashennaya
  • Alexandra Kurtz
  • Charles McIlvain
  • Caroline McLaughlin
  • Michael Quitasol
  • Evan Michel Quitasol
  • Nicole Storm Quitasol
  • Angela Rose Quitasol
  • Steven Salika
  • Tia Salika-Adamic
  • Fernisa Sison
  • Ted Strom
  • Wei Tan

How To Make A Conception Boat Fire Claim

santa barbara boat fire victims

In light of the Conception owners’ rush to file a lawsuit, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The filing of the owner’s lawsuit seeks to limit the time that families of victims will have to make a claim. Make sure to preserve your right to make a claim by contacting the California Maritime Attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen today for a free, confidential consultation. Our lawyers will advise you of your legal options and how we can assist you in making a claim for your loss.

Contact us by calling 1-800-718-4658, use the live chat feature or complete the contact form on this page.