STOCKTON — Five members of the same family are among the 34 people feared dead after a dive boat caught fire and sank off Santa Cruz Island early Monday.
Dominic Selga says his mother, Fernisa Sison; his stepfather, Michael Quitasol; and three of his four stepsisters — Evan, Nicole and Angela Quitasol — were on board the Conception.
“Personally, I’ve been holding onto that 1% despite everything that is against it and I already know in my heart that it’s not there but … ” Selga told FOX40.
Selga and his sister Nisa Shinagawa say their whole family had become scuba certified, often taking family scuba trips together because their stepdad Mike had always enjoyed the ocean.
“It was always a dream of Michael’s to get back into scuba diving and when him and my mom got together they wanted to start doing more things in their lives for themselves,” Shinagawa said.
They say every year Mike and Fernisa went on the Conception out to the Channel Islands National Park.
“He’s been on that boat multiple times,” Selga said. “We’ve been on that boat.”
Often, their kids would join them.
“Something that brought our family in a little bit closer being a mixed family. Because they’re adults and I was already an adult when my mom and Mike got together,” Selga said.
For years, Mike and Fernisa worked as nurses at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton. But recently, the couple had moved on to working for Kaiser hospitals in Stockton, Modesto and Manteca.
Mike’s daughter Evan had followed in their footsteps working at St. Joseph’s.
While Nicole lived in San Diego, Angela returned to Sierra Middle School in Stockton, where she was once a student, teaching science for the past four years according to the district.
“I would never think that that would happen, ever like on a boat that was so well known,” Selga said.
Mike is survived by a fourth daughter who lives in San Diego. Fernisa has two young grandchildren who Selga says still don’t know.
“They’re 5 and 3 (years old) and every day they ask for their grandma and grandpa,” he said. “And that’s the thing that I fear the most is just telling them. I don’t even know what to tell them.”