Fremont teacher, other Bay Area residents among dead in dive boat fire – Napa Valley Register

Fremont teacher, other Bay Area residents among dead in dive boat fire - Napa Valley Register
Los Altos father, daughter among dead in Southern California dive boat fire
A Los Altos father and his adult daughter are among the 34 people presumed dead after a dive boat went up in flames early Monday near an island off the Southern California coast.

Raymond “Scott” Chan was a physics teacher at American High School in Fremont, and his 26-year-old daughter, Kendra, was a wildlife biologist.

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The Fremont Unified School District said in a statement that Chan taught an Advanced Placement physics classes for the past three years at the school.

Los Altos father, daughter counted in death toll of Southern California boat fire

“His students knew him to be an innovative and inspiring teacher who developed a passion for physics among his students,” the district said in a statement. “His loss is a tremendous tragedy for our school district.”

Chans wife of 35 years, Vicki Moore, said her husband and daughter lived their lives with passion and purpose. Kendra, 26, grew up exploring, becoming a certified diver by age 12. Scott was an adventurer at heart, Moore said.

Video: Los Altos Father And Daughter, Both Passionate Divers, Among Victims In Tragic Boat Fire

Such amazing people: Bay Area woman speaks out after losing husband, daughter in Southern California boat fire

A father and daughter from the South Bay were on board the Conception. 59-year-old Scott Chan was a teacher at American High School in Fremont. He was with his 26-year-old daughter Kendra Chan. KTVUs Azenith Smith spoke with the widow and grieving m

In Fremont, students returned to their first day of school since learning that one of their beloved teachers died on the Southern California boat fire. Bob Redell reports for NBC Bay Area News on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

Chan graduated from Stanford with undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering and worked as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley for 20 years before launching into a career in teaching.

Finstad knew the area well, having done hundreds of dives in the Channel Islands, where she first swam with her father as a toddler. She first dove with a tank off Mexico at age 9, according to her companys website.

Chan said on his LinkedIn page that his teaching was fed by his “passion and wealth of real-world experience from research laboratories, and the electronics, computer, and high-performance automotive industries.”

“Right now, its a combination of just shock and disbelief and some numbness,” Moore told KTVU-TV. “You dont expect to have a child that dies before you. I can barely talk about my husband, but frankly, its even harder when its your own child.”

Chan said on his LinkedIn page that his teaching was fed by his “passion and wealth of real-world experience from research laboratories, and the electronics, computer, and high-performance automotive industries.”

Fremont teacher and child among victims in boat fire

The Conception was anchored in Platts Harbor off Santa Cruz Island when it became fully engulfed in flames as 30 passengers slept below deck. All but one body has been recovered by authorities searching the wreck.

“You couldnt ask for a worse situation,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a Monday news conference.

Also below deck were students from Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz. School director Maria C. Reitano declined Tuesday to say how many students went on the trip, which was not sponsored by the school.

Five crew members sleeping on the top deck jumped off and took a dinghy to safety. Two had minor injuries.

The missing and dead were among 39 passengers and crew who had departed Santa Barbaras Channel Islands Harbor on Saturday. The fire ignited at about 3 a.m. as the boat was anchored off Santa Cruz Island, about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The crew appeared to quickly call for help.

“The call was garbled, it was not that clear, but we were able to get some information out of it to send vessels,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – A Northern California school district says a high school physics teacher and his daughter were on board a dive boat that caught fire off the Southern California coast.

The 75-foot Conception, based in Santa Barbara Harbor on the mainland, was owned by Santa Barbara-based Truth Aquatics, founded in 1974. A memorial outside Truth Aquatics in the Santa Barbara Harbor grew Monday night as mourners came to pay their respects.

ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix reports that an Arizona couple, Patricia Beitzinger and Neal Baltz, were also on board, according to Baltzs father.

Coast Guard records show all safety violations from the last five years were quickly addressed by the boats owners. Some safety violations were related to fire safety. A 2016 inspection resulted in owners replacing the heat detector in the galley, and one in 2014 cited a leaky fire hose.

FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) – Raymond 'Scott' Chan, a Fremont high school teacher, and his 26-year-old daughter, Kendra, both of Los Altos, died and are among the victims of the dive-boat that caught fire off the Ventura County coast on Monday.

"This morning we were saddened to learn of the death of Raymond (Scott) Chan. Mr. Chan and his child, died over the weekend in the tragic boat fire off the coast of Santa Barbara.  Mr. Chan taught AP Physics 1 and AP Physics C at American for the past three years. Mr. Chan was a beloved teacher at AHS among students and colleagues. His students knew him to be an innovative and inspiring teacher who developed a passion for physics among his students. His loss is a tremendous tragedy for our school district.

"He had a lot of passions in life and shared them with his family, and so they were planning on doing a great vacation and a trip that they loved," said Kim Wallace, Fremont Unified School District superintendent.

To assist students and staff in coping with this loss, a special district crisis intervention team will be on the AHS campus this week. The team includes school staff (counselors, psychologists, and nurses) and district level personnel who have been specially trained to assist in crisis situations. An increased level of individual and group counseling services has been made available. We will continue to provide these services to students as long as they are needed."

“Right now, it’s a combination of just shock and disbelief and some numbness,” said Vicki Moore.

Moore is mourning the death of her partner of 35 years and her first-born child. She said the father and daughter were avid scuba divers and had been diving together for years. The two took at least two boat trips to the Channel Islands a year. 

London stops burning, the First Continental Congress meets, terrorists target Israeli Olympians in Munich, and Mother Teresa passes away, all on this day.

Such heartbreak. A father & daughter from #LosAltos among those on board the Conception. 59 y/o Scott Chan was a teacher at American High School in #Fremont. He was with his 26 y/o daughter Kendra. Chan’s wife shared these pictures & said the two bonded over diving #ktvu 10/11p pic.twitter.com/fTYHGPpUJV

FREMONT, Calif. – American High School teacher Scott Chan has been identified as one of the victims in Monday's tragic boat fire.

On Tuesday, Moore was heading home to Los Altos. She had given authorities a cheek swab of her DNA. Samples will be used to identify the victims. 

A president is shot, Cal Ripken Jr. breaks an unbreakable record, and the world mourns the passing of a princess, all on this day.

"You don't expect to have a child that dies before you," said Moore. I can barely talk about my husband, but frankly, it's even harder when it's your own child." 

On Friday night, she dropped off Scott Chan, 59, at the Santa Barbara Harbor. They met Kendra Chan there, who lived in Oxnard. Moore intended to pick them up on Monday. 

Moore had met Scott Chan at Stanford. He was an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley for 20 years. 

"The students and the staff are in complete shock, as were we when we heard of the news," Wallace said.

Fremont Unified School District officials said on Twitter, "We send our condolences to Mr. Chan's family and the American High School community." 

Classes just started only last Wednesday, and news of the teacher's death after the Labor Day weekend was upsetting to many on campus.

"We have counselors on site, we have the ability for people to just reach out and talk to each other and share their grief," Wallace said.

One of Chan's students was a 2019 U.S. Physics Olympiad qualifier. Students who make the U.S. team compete in an international physics competition. 

Kendra Chan had just turned 26 years old. She was a wildlife biologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ventura. 

"I was so proud, so proud of her and all that she was doing," said Moore. "She was absolutely an amazing young woman."  

"The community’s in total shock, being such a small group, and to have that many divers taken all at once is a tragedy," said Charles McKinven, manager of Pacific Scuba Divers in Sunnyvale and a dive instructor.

"They're very experienced divers," McKinven said. "They’re in here on a regular basis, been diving for years in this area. I believe they go down to Southern California and do those Channel Island trips at least once or twice a year.”

"I'd equate it to, the bunk room would be similar to something you’d see on a train, and it’s three tiers of bunks, or it’s two tiers depending on which level you’re at," McKinven said. "But that’s on the lower level of the boat."

 "If you’re like most divers, you’ve been diving four to five times that day, by the time you go to bed, you're tired. I honestly think most of them probably didn’t even know what was going on."

The family had been on the boat Conception many times before. As questions mount over safety, not once did Moore think a fire would occur.

“I think this was an anomaly, at least I sure hope it was,” said Moore. “I’ve never heard of this type of thing before.”

As the family awaits official confirmation from the coroner’s office, they are now working on funeral arrangements

Bay City News contributed to this report.                


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