Santa Monica Residents Among Victims of Deadly Boat Fire

SANTA MONICA (CNS) - While authorities continued working today to identify the victims of the deadly weekend boat fire near Santa Cruz Island presumed to have killed 34 people, a pair of Santa Monica residents were identified by colleagues and friends as passengers on the ill-fated voyage.

Acquaintances posted online tributes to the pair -- Marybeth Guiney and Charles McIlvain, both of whom were diving enthusiasts and lived in the same Santa Monica condominium complex.

The Malibu Divers dive shop posted on its Facebook page: ``All of us are devastated by the Conception dive boat tragedy. We'd like to honor Charles McIlvain and Marybeth Guiney by asking you to tell a story about a dive adventure or (anecdote) you had with them. Please share, I know it will help us all.''

Guiney, a sales director and ocean enthusiast who was dedicated to the protection of sharks and other sea life, was hailed by friends as an outgoing figure who always had a smile.

``She was such an inspiration, a voice to help understand and protect sharks, and shared her pictures and stories as she traveled the world,'' one friend wrote on Facebook. ``She was endlessly energetic, optimistic and always had a smile to share. Just can't believe it. What a tragedy for so many.''

Another wrote: ``Her gentle and sweet nature made her a great companion ... Marybeth was `good people.''' Another added: ``You were hysterical. You were real. I will always think about you and smile.''

McIlvain, according to his Facebook page, worked as a visual effects designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. His wife, filmmaker Jasmine Lord, was not with him on Conception dive boat. Her online posts indicated she was working over the weekend in Miami -- in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

McIlvain's friends also poured out their hearts online, calling him one of ``the kindest, funniest people you'll every meet.''

``Anyone who knew Charles `Chuck' McIlvain would know how full of life he was, how contagious his laugh and his smile was and what a warm soul he had,'' another friend wrote.

Neighbors of the pair in Santa Monica told NBC4 that Guiney would often go on dive trips with McIlvain and his wife.

Of McIlvain, one neighbor told the station: ``He's the kind of guy who's always happy -- 8 o'clock in the morning, he's happy. Comes home from work at 7, he's happy.''

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the environmental group Heal the Bay plans to hold a community gathering/vigil/fundraiser in honor of all the victims of the fire. The gathering will be held at Heal the Bay's aquarium beneath the Santa Monica Pier.

Only five crew members are believed to have survived the fire, which erupted around 3:15 a.m. Monday. There were 34 other people aboard. As of Tuesday morning, 20 bodies had been recovered, and four to six more were spotted inside the sunken wreckage. The rest are presumed dead although their bodies have not been found.

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