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Local Community Mourns As More Is Revealed About Channel Islands Boat Fire


We’re learning more and more about the 34 people who are presumed dead after a devastating boat fire in the Channel Islands on Monday morning. Many in the local diving community know people who were onboard and know the boats themselves. 


Emily Zimmel co-owns Adventure Sports Unlimited near downtown Santa Cruz. She sits by the pool near her dive shop. Adventure Sports also leads dive trips to the Channel Islands and other dive spots.   

Zimmel says the Santa Cruz diving community is devastated. 

“I personally know quite a few people that were on that boat and I know lots of people in diving community do too. It's it's gonna be a hard one. It's gonna be really hard to come out of,” Zimmel says. 

Zimmel has on a T-shirt with a Truth Aquatics logo. The company operates the boat that caught fire -- the Conception, as well as a similar boat called the Vision. Zimmel happened to be on the Vision leading a different dive trip south of the Channel islands when the tragedy occurred.

“Like, we all did the same things that night. We all had a really great time. There's birthday parties on both boats. We all had a really great time and we all went to bed expecting to wake up in the morning and by some grace of God, you know, they didn’t,” says Zimmel.

The victims include a family of five from Stockton, students and parents from Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz and 41-year-old marine biologist Kristy Finstad who was leading the trip on the Conception.

The National Transportation Safety Board said yesterday they interviewed surviving crew members, met with grieving families and were continuing their investigation into what went wrong on the Conception.


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