North Bay diver remembers excursions aboard Conception diving boat

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. (KGO) -- The inferno on-board a commercial dive boat off the Southern California coast has left a North Bay diver speechless. He's been on board the Conception many times but doesn't know how the tragedy could have happened.

"It's so sad to see so many people die and I don't know why," said diver Dave Benoit.

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Benoit who lives in San Anselmo, is now coming to grips with the tragic fire which consumed the 75-foot commercial diving boat Conception off the Coast of Santa Barbara on Sunday.

It's a vessel Benoit knows well.

"I remember it was comfortable, good food and spacious, " Benoit added.

Benoit has made several three-day diving trips aboard Conception around the Channel Islands. He said he doesn't understand how a fire could start on board-- he recalls it being safe.

"I remember fire extinguishers, located by the helm," said Benoit.

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He says sleeping quarters for passengers were bunk beds below deck with one stairway leading in and out.

"I don't remember there being any portholes at all, below deck was sealed off," said Benoit.

The avid diver is heartbroken for families who lost loved ones. He does not believe he knew any of the passengers or crew.
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