Santa Barbara- S County

Emotions come out after deadly island boat fire

Many people familiar with the Conception

Maya Upton began a flower memorial for the victims in the Conception dive boat disaster off Santa Cruz Island. (John Palminteri /KEYT.com)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Many people familiar with the Conception dive boat, its rich history, and divers who have been on it are speaking out after the tragic incident in the pre-dawn hours off Santa Cruz Island.

"It made me so sad," said Maya Upton, a local resident who came to the harbor after the crisis began unfolding. "I thought about all the people who are going to be suffering in the days to come." 

Upton brought flowers and placed them on a fence line by Sea Landing, the dock where the Conception is normally located.

The loss of multiple lives on board the Conception dive boat, listed for now at eight with 26 missing, is deeply felt here.

At the flower memorial coming together Upton said, "I wanted to do something to give people a place to come and a place to think about this and to share some sweet words." 

Nearby, Anthony Clark recalled a diving trip he took on the Conception in the Channel Islands waters.  

"I remember thinking to myself that everything was very well-kept," Clark said. "At no point did I ever think that the boat was out of shape. The crew was amazing, we had a really good time. Everybody was very friendly. They went over the safety precautions, and again, it is not something that you ever think is going to happen."

On his trip, Clark took a video while walking through the boat, including the galley.He then traveled downstairs to the sleeping quarters where the bunks were located. Clark said it was tight but he never thought twice about an evacuation issue.

Clark said before they took off, safety plans were reviewed.

The Conception launched in 1981 after it was built in Long Beach.


Watch the Tuesday 10 a.m. press conference:


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