HomeChinese AmericanFive members of family; father and daughter among the 34 who perish...

Five members of family; father and daughter among the 34 who perish in boat fire off of California coast

From left: Nicole, Christina, Michael, Evanmichel, and Angela Quitasol. Christina was not on the fatal family outing. Also perishing was Michael Quitasol’s wife, Fernisa Sison.

Views from the Edge

What was supposed to be a birthday celebration turned deadly for a Filipino American family from Stockton; and a bonding trip for a father and daughter ended in their deaths.

The passengers were sleeping at 3 a.m. Monday when the vessel caught fire. They were on a 75-foot Concepcion offering a luxurious three-day excursion that was to include diving in kelp forests, nature lectures and gourmet meals.

34 people perished as their ship caught fire off the Southern California just off of Santa Catalina Island on Labor Day.  

Among the victims were five members of the Quitasol family from Stockton, CA. Three sisters — Angela Rose, Nicole and Evanmichel Quitasol — set out Saturday with their father, Michael Quitasol, and stepmother, Fernisa Sison. They were celebrating Michael’s birthday.

A Kaiser Permanente spokeswoman confirmed that Michael Quitasol worked as a registered nurse at the Kaiser hospitals in Modesto and Manteca, his wife Fernisa Sison worked as a registered nurse at Kaiser medical offices in Stockton, and Quitasol’s daughter Evan Solano Quitasol is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Stockton.

Angela Rose, with her hair dyed blue, was the “cool teacher” at Sierra Middle School. She skated with the roller derby team the Port City Roller Girls, where she was known as “Hermoine Danger.”

Scott and Kendra Chan

Also perishing was Scott Chan, a physics teacher at American High School in Fremont, where he taught the last two years. Before that, he was a Silicon Valley engineer for 20 years. He  died along with his daughter Kendra, who had just turned 26 years old. She was a wildlife biologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ventura. The two loved diving, said Scott Chan’s partner 

Few details have emerged about what happened before the breathless captain made a mayday call at 3:15 a.m. Five crew members, including the captain, managed to escape the Conception.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said fire above the deck blocked the one stairway and an emergency exit hatch where 33 passengers and one crew member were sleeping in bunks. It’s not known if any alarm sounded or what the people below deck may have done to try to escape.
As of Thursday morning, 33 bodies have been recovered from the Concepcion which lies at the bottom of ocean about 65 feet deep.

Members of the Quitasol family will hold a fundraiser Friday and Saturday at the Mexican Heritage Center, 111 S. Sutter St., Stockton. The fundraiser will take place from 3-6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Checks should be made payable to Susan Solana Rosas, the mother of Evanmichel Quitasol, Nicole Quitasol and Angela Rose Quitasol, who died in the diving-boat fire off the Southern California coast early Monday morning.

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