STOCKTON (CBS13) — Five members of the same Stockton family were on the Conception when the boat caught fire early Monday morning.
Now their relatives are trying to pick up the pieces and get answers about what happened. A relative identified the five victims as Michael Quitasol, Fernisa Sison, Angela Quitasol, Evan Quitasol and Nicole Quitasol.
Dominic Selga, Fernisa Sison’s son, said the trip on the Conception started off as a birthday celebration for Michael before it became a tragedy.
“You know deep down that it’s true, that they’ve passed on and they were in that boat and they are not going to be found,” Selga said.
It’s hard for Selga to believe some of the most important people in his life are gone. All that’s left now are haunting questions.
“What were they thinking? What happened? Why did it happen? What did they wake up to? Were they awake? Did they even wake up?” Selga said.
The boat they were on caught fire around 3 a.m. Monday as more than two dozen people were sleeping on the lower deck. At first, Selga held on to hope his family was on a different boat.
“I was so praying, hoping for it to be the Vision. Not like I want somebody else to have suffered, but that it wasn’t them,” Selga said.
Selga said his family has been on the Conception before this tragedy, he had taken the trip with them. His stepfather, Michael Quitasol, loved diving. It was his long-time passion he made time for every year, and his wife, Fernisa, joined him.
“Diving is something they shared. It’s one thing that made they happy together, one of the many, but something that made them happy together,” Selga said.
Selga said his stepsisters also loved diving and spending time together. He has so many questions but must also find answers for his two young children who keep asking their grandmother.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to say to my kids. They’re really young. So I don’t know how they are going to understand it,” he said.
So far, authorities have recovered 25 bodies from the fire. Nine of those bodies remain missing. Coroners say some of the bodies recovered have injuries consistent with drowning.
Five crew members survived the incident.