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California boat fire: 5 more victims named; 1 body still not found

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/11/2019 Staff reports, Ventura County Star
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The names of five more victims of the Conception boat fire were released Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number of identified victims to 27.

The five victims were identified as Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, Sacramento; Lisa Fiedler, 52, Mill Valley; Kristina "Kristy" Finstad, 41, Tamrick Pines; Fernisa Sison, 57, Stockton; Kristian Takvam, 34, San Francisco, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's-Coroner’s Office. 

The victims were identified using rapid DNA technology with samples collected from family members, according to Lt. Erik Raney, of the sheriff's office. Authorities expect to release the identities of the remaining six victims later this week.

Thus far, 33 bodies have been recovered from the boat and the nearby waters after a fire overtook the Conception after 3 a.m. Sept. 2 while the nearly 80-foot vessel was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island.

On board were 39 people, including six crew members.

Five crew members were above deck when the fire erupted and escaped to safety. The other 34 people on board were trapped in the sleeping area below deck and died in the fire.

Sheriff's officials have said preliminary examinations indicate the 33 passengers and one crew member died from smoke inhalation.

a person standing in front of a fence © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. A dive team also returned to the area off Santa Cruz Island Tuesday to search for the remains of the last victim of the Conception boat fire, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The search effort was winding down as the criminal investigation into the boat fire that killed 34 people geared up.

Federal search warrants were executed Sunday in Santa Barbara at Truth Aquatics, the company that owned the Conception. The company's two remaining commercial dive vessels, the Truth and the Vision, were also searched.

Federal agents continued their work Tuesday aboard the boats and crime scene tape near the Sea Landing where Truth Aquatics offices are located closed off the area.

The warrants were served by members of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the lead agency of the investigation, with assistance from members of the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

On Tuesday, the FBI also asked the public for help with information that could assist investigators.

The FBI asked the public to call 1-800-CALL-FBI and to select the fourth prompt, "FBI case currently highlighted in the news," followed by the fourth prompt again, "Conception Maritime Incident in Santa Barbara, California."

Anyone with photos, videos or other forms of media was asked to submit it to investigators through its site www.fbi.gov/boatfire. Files are limited to 1,024 MB in size and up to four files are allowed.

Dive teams worked near the area of the sunken Conception in the days after the fire. © CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SANTA BARBARA COUNTY Dive teams worked near the area of the sunken Conception in the days after the fire.

In the meantime, the operation to salvage the dive boat remained suspended because of the rough conditions and were not expected to restart until Wednesday, officials said. 

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: California boat fire: 5 more victims named; 1 body still not found

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