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‘Conception’: The Last Update to the List of Victims

Brief Profiles of Those Lost to Dive-Boat Fire

After divers recovered the 34th and final victim of the Conception disaster, Santa Barbara officials announced the identities of the last seven individuals who hadn’t been officially named:

Juha Pekka Ahopelto, 50, Sunnyvale
Berenice Felipe, 16, Santa Cruz
Yuko Hatano, 39, San Jose
Xiang Lin, 45, Fremont
Kaustubh Nirmal, 33, Stamford, CT
Sanjeeri DeoPujari, 31, Stamford, CT
Sunil Sandhu, 45, Half Moon Bay

The victims — 21 women and 13 men ranging in age from 16 to 62 years old — died from smoke inhalation, officials believe. They include a CEO, a hairdresser, scientists, photographers, moms, dads, teachers, and students. They came from different places and different backgrounds, but all possessed an abiding love of the ocean. Information was not available for all victims; below, we profile those whose information was known publicly:

Xiang Lin

Photo: CourtesyXiang Lin

A native of Beijing, Lin moved to the United States to study computer science at Brown University. She held management positions at both Apple and Microsoft and more recently was researching artificial intelligence. “She was warm, loving, athletic, courageous, intelligent, and funny,” her family said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Her curiosity and passion have impacted and inspired many whom she came into contact with throughout her life.”

Photo: CourtesyKaustubh Nirmal and Sanjeeri DeoPujari

Kaustubh Nirmal and Sanjeeri DeoPujari

Nirmal and DeoPujari married two and a half years ago. They lived in New York City, where Nirmal worked in finance and DeoPujari was a dentist. Nirmal grew up in Jaipur, and DeoPujari was from Nagpur, the Times of India reported.

Previous Portraits

As the identities of the passengers and crewmember who died aboard the Conception became known, the Independent briefly profiled the victims identified by friends and relatives in our issues of September 5 and 12, 2019.

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