A Massachusetts native was one of the 34 people killed when flames engulfed a scuba diving boat off the coast of Southern California on Labor Day.
Marybeth Guiney called Boston her hometown and was a former sales executive for the New England Patriots, according to her social media pages. At the time of her death, she was living in Santa Monica and was described by friends as an ocean enthusiast who loved scuba diving, WCVB reports.
“She was the person you wanted to be around. She was fun — the best smile, the best laugh,” Carrie Benabou, a friend of Guiney’s, told the station.
The New England Patriots released a statement on her death to WCVB.
“The New England Patriots organization is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Marybeth Guiney,” the statement read. “We send our sincerest sympathies to her family and all who mourn Marybeth’s loss.”
Malibu Divers identified Guiney as one of the victims of the fire.
“All of us are devastated by the Conception dive boat tragedy,” the diving center wrote on Facebook, asking for people to share a story about Guiney and another victim.
A friend wrote that Guiney’s passion was scuba diving and that the Massachusetts native spent a lot of the last year and a half traveling to pursue it.
“She wanted to help people explore the hidden corners of our planet’s oceans and had been looking into setting up a business to take people to the places that are more difficult to access,” wrote Newsha Tarifard. “I am heartbroken by this tragedy and beyond sad that a lover of the oceans, its wildlife and such an incredible person is no longer with us. I hope she is off swimming with dolphins and sharkies somewhere beautiful.”
Charlotte Ann wrote that her friend was “endlessly energetic.”
“She was such an inspiration, a voice to help understand and protect sharks, and shared her pictures and stories as she traveled the world,” she wrote.
Several people shared stories of meeting Guiney on dive trips around the world, and many wrote of her kindness and the impact she had on those around her.
Chelsi Gress recalled rooming with the Massachusetts native on an excursion in Canada.
“She was so kind and full of life… I am so heartbroken, she was such an amazing human being,” Gress wrote.
A friend, Joel Stein, told WHDH that Guiney had a “zest for experiencing the world” and devoted her time to organizations focused on marine clean up.
“She gave off a remarkably positive energy,” Stein told the station. “You just couldn’t help but want to be around her because she just sort of radiated it.”
The tragedy on the Conception, which occurred while it was anchored off Santa Cruz Island, is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. So far authorities have said that flames on the deck blocked the one stairway, as well as an emergency hatch, to the sleeping quarters below. Five crew members, including the boat’s captain, survived the fire.