A family of five celebrating their dad's birthday on a weekend outing is said to be among the 34 dead killed in a boating off the coast of southern California, Tuesday.
Angela, Nicole and Evan Quitasol, their father Michael Quitasol and their stepmother Fernisa Sison were among the 33 passengers and six crew members on the dive boat Conception when it caught fire early Monday morning near the island of Santa Cruz while the passengers were still asleep.
25 BODY FOUND TO CALIFORNIA SCUBA DIVING BOAT FIRE, SAYS COAST GUARD
"They are the nicest and sweetest people I've ever met – and I'm not saying that just because they're a family," Stepfather said Chris Rosas. "The way they dealt with someone they met was wonderful. They were outstanding girls. That's about all I can say to you now. "Girl's mother, Susana Rosas, posted the news on Facebook on Monday and thanked the community for her support.
All three girls were bridesmaids at her sister Evita's wedding two weeks ago.
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"She loved nature, loved animals, loved and lived by the sea," Rosas said about Nicole, who lived in the seaside resort of Coronado. Rosas and his wife left their home in Stockton on Monday to visit Santa Barbara when they heard the news.
Twenty-five bodies were recovered on Tuesday, and nine are still missing. At that time, five crew members could jump off the boat on the deck. All 33 passengers are considered dead.
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The bailout was interrupted on Tuesday after rescuers had reported no signs of further survivors.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.