California diving boat fire: Second Singaporean's death confirmed

Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu was among 34 people who died when a fire broke out on the diving boat on Sept 2.
Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu was among 34 people who died when a fire broke out on the diving boat on Sept 2.PHOTO: COURTESY OF SUNIL SINGH SANDHU'S FAMILY

A 46-year-old Singaporean researcher has been confirmed to be a victim of a fire on Sept 2 on board a diving boat in California, his family said yesterday.

Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu was among 34 people who died when a fire broke out on the Conception, a recreational scuba diving vessel anchored off Santa Cruz Island, near the southern Californian coast, in one of California's worst maritime disasters.

Dr Sunil's brother-in-law, Mr Ramesh Singh, said the family will be flying to the United States tomorrow to carry out the funeral rites and Dr Sunil's cremation in Santa Barbara.

Dr Sunil, who had lived in the US for 24 years, was a graduate of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. He also had a master's degree and doctoral degree from Stanford University.

The death of another Singaporean, Ms Tan Wei, a 26-year-old postgraduate student, was earlier confirmed by the US authorities.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement yesterday, saying the US authorities had confirmed that two Singaporeans were among the victims on board the boat.

MFA said: "The ministry would like to express our deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

 
 

"We would also like to express our appreciation to the US Embassy in Singapore and relevant US agencies for their assistance in the search-and-recovery operations as well as the victim identification process."

The ministry said it would work closely with the US authorities to continue rendering assistance and support to the families of the two Singaporeans.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'US diving boat fire: Second S'porean's death confirmed'. Print Edition | Subscribe