SANTA BARBARA (CBS SF) — Working around the clock since last weekend’s deadly dive boat tragedy, a group of coroners from around the state have been able to identify 18 of the 33 bodies recovered from the wreckage of the 75-foot Conception, officials said Thursday.
The names of nine of the confirmed victims were released by the sheriff’s department — five have Bay Area connections and included for the first time the name of UC Berkeley grad Wei Tan.
Here are the names of the other eight:
- Raymond “Scott” Chan, 59, of Los Altos
- Justin Dignam, 58, of Anaheim
- Daniel Garcia, 46, of Berkeley
- Marybeth Guiney, 51, of Santa Monica
- Yulia Krashennaya, 40, of Berkeley
- Alexandra Kurtz, 26, of Santa Barbara
- Caroline McLaughlin, 35, of Oakland
- Ted Strom, 62, of Germantown, Tennessee
Coroners are using equipment and forensic technology deployed during last year’s deadly Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise and claimed the lives of 85 people — many overwhelmed as they attempted to flee the wall of fire.
“Due to the intense nature of the fire that occurred on the vessel, the recovered remains have suffered varying degrees of fire damage which requires DNA analysis,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Bay Area Mourns Dive Boat Fire Victims
He added that authorities have been able to connect with the families of all 34 victims on the boat. But once their loved ones have been confirmed by the coroners, Brown said, a second more personal contact would be made with the families.
That process was underway of the nine others who have been positively identified.
Brown also told reporters that initially the coroners believe the victims died of smoke inhalation and not from burn injuries.
“The indicators are from the preliminary examination of the bodies that the victims died prior to being burned,” he said. “The burn damage to the victims was post-mortem.”
Wei’s sister took to Facebook to tell family and friends of Tan’s death.
“Dear friends, it is with great sadness I announce the passing of my beloved little sister, Wei Tan. She was one of the victims in the unfortunate boat fire accident that happened in California on Sept 2,” she posted. “At the moment, my family is coping well while we wait for DNA testing to be completed. My elder brother, Sejay Tan, is currently on site in Santa Barbara to handle all paperwork and arrangements. Details on the ceremony will be provided later.”
“We sincerely thank all relatives and friends for your love and concern as we get through this difficult phase.”
“It hurts, it will always hurt, but we will move on…”