IN PICTURES: Long Beach dive community honors victims of Santa Barbara boat fire

Members of the local diving community gathered Thursday night at the Deep Blue Scuba and Swim Center in Belmont Shore to hold a vigil for the 34 people who died in a boat fire off the coast of Santa Barbara.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around it, so we needed to get together as a community and just honor them and remember them, said Trisha Jones, of San Pedro.

The victims had been on a three-day scuba diving excursion aboard the Conception. Passengers and one crew member were sleeping below deck in tight quarters, when a fire broke out aboard the boat, blocking both exits out of the lower deck.

The only five survivors, the captain and four crew members who were awake on the upper deck, jumped off the the Conception and swam to an inflatable boat at the back and steered it to a ship anchored nearby.

“Considering the magnitude of this tragedy, we felt it was really important to come together as a community and show our love and respect for their families and their loss,” said Jonathan Hall owner of Deep Blue Blue Scuba and Swim Center.

Mike Goldsmith, left, of Rolling Hills, gets a hug from Kim Lancaster, of Lakewood, who is a Captain of the Long Beach-based-dive boat Cee Ray. Photo by Stephen Carr.

A candlelight vigil near the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, hosted by Deep Blue Scuba Center, in honor of the victims of the fire. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Jonathan Hall, owner of Deep Blue Scuba Center, speaks during the vigil. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Jonathan Hall in front of a large crowd of mourners. Photo by Stephen Carr

A Long Beach Lifeguard boat was on hand. Photo by Stephen Carr.

There was moment of silence during the vigil. Photo by Stephen Carr

A man and woman embrace as they look on. Photo by Stephen Carr

A large group walks onto the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier during the vigil. Photo by Stephen Carr.

A large group walks onto the pier as the sun sets. Photo by Stephen Carr.

The group of attendees was large. Photo by Stephen Carr.

A large group at the end of the pier. Photo by Stephen Carr.

They held candles as they walked. Photo by Stephen Carr.

A woman throws flowers into the sea in remembrance of the victims. Photo by Stephen Carr.

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