indica News Bureau-
An Indian American couple was among the thirty-four people who died when a 75-foot-long diving boat caught fire at around 3 a.m. on Monday, September 2.
The boat was on a three-day diving excursion near Santa Cruz, California and carried tourists from as far away as Singapore, Japan, and India.
The Indian couple, Kaustubh Nirmal and Sanjeeri Deopujari, of Stamford, New York were among the victims of the deadly fire.
The couple 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 in central India, the Times of India reported.
According to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, they are in touch with the family but they haven’t officially received the names of the couple from the sheriff department.
The Indian Consulate in San Francisco, told indica, they are in touch with the family but they haven’t officially received the names of the couple from the sheriff department.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Nirmal and Deopujari got married two and a half years ago and were called “the perfect couple” by their cousin, Rajul Sharma.
“He found a soulmate in Sanjeeri,” Sharma said in an email to the Los Angeles Times, recalling their endearing and infectious smiles. “Their love for each other was apparent even without them speaking about it.”
Sharma said he had known Nirmal since the day he was born. An avid animal lover, Nirmal was “sensitive and polite,” he said, “never wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
“God took them away from us untimely and unfairly, but even he didn’t have the heart to separate them in death,” he said.
According to Santa Barbara Sheriff, Bill Brown, the death of the victims must have occurred by inhaling highly toxic smoke, dying in their sleep before being burned by flames.
Meanwhile, the owner of the boat, Truth Aquatics Inc., pre-emptively filed a lawsuit, under a pre-Civil War provision of maritime law that could protect it from potentially costly payouts to the families of the dead, according to the sfgate.com.
The company said in a statement posted Friday on Instagram that the litigation is an “unfortunate side of these tragedies” and pinned the action on insurance companies and other so-called stakeholders.
“This wouldn’t be something that we as a family would even consider,” the company said. “The timing is on them. Our hearts and minds are on the tragedy and finding answers.”
Coast Guard records show the boat passed its two most recent inspections with no safety violations. And previous customers said Truth Aquatics and the captains of its three boats were very safety conscious.