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Albany diver heartbroken after deadly boat fire in California

Matthew Abbott, a master diver and owner of Albany Scuba, said the news of the tragedy left him devastated. He said they are willing to help victim's families by doing fundraisers.

Posted: Sep 3, 2019 6:39 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A local deep-sea diver said he's heartbroken after a fire ripped through a commercial scuba diving boat off the coast of California, killing 34 people.

On Tuesday, authorities announced they're suspending their search for more survivors. Officials said only five people escaped Monday's fire.

Matthew Abbott, a master diver and owner of Albany Scuba, said the news of the tragedy left him devastated. He said they are willing to help victim's families by doing fundraisers.

"We're here to help and support any way we can," Abbott said. "Maybe even sponsor some dives to help the families."

RELATED: 34 MISSING IN CALIFORNIA DIVE-BOAT FIRE THAT RESULTED IN NUMEROUS FATALITIES, OFFICIALS SAY

But Abbott's call to action comes on bated breath. He said the diving community is tight-knit and he's worried that this tragedy may have hit close to home for him.

"The dive community is a small community, and I may know some of these people," Abbott said.

Regardless if he knows them or not, Abbott said he not only wants to help but he also wants answers.

Albany Scuba teaches people how to dive and takes people on diving trips. Abbott said when they contract with charter boats, he makes sure they're following all safety regulations.

"It's a tragedy, and then the questions need to be answered," Abbott said. "Why did this happen? How did this happen? And how can we prevent it from happening again?"

The cause of the fire is under investigation. At last check authorities have not released the names of the victims.

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