Santa Barbara- S County

Family, friends begin identifying Conception boat fire victims

Parents, young adults, friends among the dead

Several boat fire victims identified

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Family and friends are beginning the heart wrenching process of identifying loved ones killed in the fire onboard the dive boat Conception.

At a growing memorial along the Santa Barbara Harbor, the mother of Alexandra Kurtz broke down in tears.

Sherrie McDonna left a photo with a note reading, "I love you Allie and you know I always will."

The younger sister of a crew member who lost her life also visited the Santa Barbara memorial. She says her sister had just been promoted and was excited about her work on the dive boat.

A Los Altos father and daughter are among the victims. Raymond Scott Chan and Kendra Chan were on this dive trip together. Kendra lived in Ventura and her dad would visit, so they could share their passion of diving.

Other victims include Arizona couple Patricia Beitzinger and Neal Balts. Friends describe Balts as funny and willing to always help others.

Authorities say many of the victims were from the Bay area and Santa Cruz. That includes dive instructor Kristy Finstad, who was leading a holiday weekend excursion. A Santa Curz school is also mourning the loss of at least two students and two parents.

A family of five from Northern California is also said to be among the list of victims.


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