Coronado Woman Among Confirmed Dead In Channel Islands Boat Fire
A San Diego resident who works at a Coronado restaurant and four of her relatives were among the passengers on a boat that caught fire off Santa Cruz Island, the restaurant confirmed Tuesday.
Nicole Quitasol, 31, was identified as one of the 33 passengers and 39 total people aboard the boat. U.S. Coast Guard officials ended their search for survivors Tuesday. Authorities said they had recovered 20 bodies as of Tuesday morning, and between four and six more were seen in the sunken wreckage.
Only five crew members who escaped the burning boat are believed to have survived.
Quitasol's father Michael, her two sisters Evanmichael and Angela and her stepmother Fernisa June Sison, all Central Valley residents, were also identified among the victims, according to the Orange County Register. Michael worked as a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Modesto while Evanmichael and Sison worked at hospitals in Stockton and Modesto.
Nicole Quitasol worked at Nicky Rottens Bar and Burger Joint in Coronado for four years, according to Bryn Butolph, the restaurant's CFO. Butolph began a GoFundMe crowdfunding page Tuesday with the blessing of Quitasol's mother, Susana Solano Rosas, to raise funds for the family's funeral costs.
"I asked if she wanted to talk to anybody, news-wise, and she obviously just can't handle it," Butolph said. "She said `just take every call you can and get my daughter's story out there.' And that's what we're doing."
Butolph said that although they're "torn apart," staff members asked to avoid closing the restaurant to celebrate Quitasol's life as a group. Her regular customers have also come to the restaurant to remember her.
"People want to listen to music and have beer and talk about her," Butolph said. "So I guess that's the one silver lining that we've got so far, you know, they all want to be together and hang out and we're happy to provide a safe space for everybody to mourn together."
Since beginning Tuesday afternoon, the campaign has raised about $1,400 of its $55,000 goal. The GoFundMe page can be found at bit.ly/2lw6OtG.