US-based Indian couple feared dead in California boat fire
Washington, Sep 05: An Indian couple settled in the US is believed to among those who have died in a boat mishap that took place off Santa Cruz island in California on Monday morning.
The daughter and son-in-law of Satish Deopujari, a renowned Nagpur-based pediatrician, were on board the ill-fated boat packed with scuba divers which caught fire and sank off the California coast, family sources said.
According to a close family friend of Dr Deopujari, his daughter Sanjeeri Deopujari, a dentist, had married Kaustubh Nirmal, who worked in a finance company in the USA, two years back and they were settled in America.
He told PTI that the Deopujari family has not yet got confirmation about the death of the couple from US authorities.
He, however, said the couple had gone for scuba diving and was on-board the ill-fated ship.
The family friend of the Deopujaris said only five crew members managed to survive the tragedy.
He said another daughter of Dr Deopujari also stays in the USA post-marriage and she is trying to get in touch with US authorities for further details.
Dr Deopujari will also soon leave for the USA, he said.
As many as 34 people died after the boat packed with scuba divers caught fire near an island off the Southern California coast, US officials had said on Tuesday.
No one was found alive after flames tore through the dive boat on early Monday as passengers on a recreational scuba diving trip slept below deck, they had said.
The ship carried 33 passengers and 6 crew members, and only five of the crew sleeping on the top deck were able to escape by jumping off and taking a small boat to safety, the US officials had said.
Investigators have not yet determined how the fire broke out, they had said.