Two Singaporeans are believed to be among the victims of a boat fire that happened off the coast of California on Monday. They have been identified as data scientist Tan Wei, 26, and research scientist Sunil Singh Sandhu, 46.
The pair were among 39 people who were on a diving expedition onboard the 23m-long Conception boat when it caught fire and sank off the coast of Santa Barbara at 3:15am (US Pacific time), or 6:15pm Singapore time, multiple media reports said.
The captain and four crew members on deck survived the tragedy, but the rest who were sleeping below deck are feared to have died, according to reports. US investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
The bodies of all but one of the remaining 34 have been recovered, though it is yet to be confirmed whether the bodies of both Singaporeans are among those found.
It was The New Paper that had identified one of the Singaporeans as Sunil Singh in a report that came out early yesterday, which stated that his family had already received news that Sunil Singh was believed to be among the victims of the boat fire. The article also said that the man had lived in the US for two decades but picked up diving only recently.
Soon after that report came out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement confirming that two Singaporeans were among those listed in the Conception’s passenger manifest.
Last night, a woman known as Cheerin Tan announced on Facebook that her little sister Tan Wei was among the victims of the boat fire.
In the post, Cheerin Tan said: “Dear friends, it is with great sadness I announce the passing of my beloved little sister, Wei Tan. She was one of the victims in the unfortunate boat fire accident that happened in California on Sept 2.”
Tan Wei’s brother, Sejay Tan, is currently in Santa Barbara to “handle all paperwork and arrangements,” she added.
Tan Wei’s Facebook profile shows that she had graduated from UC Berkeley earlier this year with a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. According to Channel NewsAsia’s report, she had moved to Santa Barbara in June to work as a data scientist.
Meanwhile, Sunil Singh had worked as a Senior Scientist for the Pointcloud Inc tech company based in San Francisco, according to his LinkedIn page.