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Two Santa Monica Residents Among Dead in Diving Boat Fire

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By Jorge Casuso

September 4, 2019 -- Two Santa Monica residents were among the 34 people killed early Monday morning when a scuba diving boat caught fire near the Santa Cruz Islands.

Charles McIlvain and Marybeth Guiney were diving enthusiasts who lived in a condominium building on the 2600 block of Centinela Avenue.

McIlvain, who worked as a visual effects designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, was known for his work on films such as “Spider-Man” and “Green Lantern.”
Marybeth Guiney
Marybeth Guiney (Courtesy of Facebook)

Guiney, who was in marketing and advertising, had been working for six months in global business development for Omax Health, according to her LinkedIn page.

She was a Heal the Bay cleanup volunteer and donor since 2011, officials at the non-profit said.

Both were members of Malibu Divers, a freediving and scuba diving company established in 1969.

“There are no words to express my sincere soulful sympathy for the loss of Charles and Marybeth and every soul on that boat now in heaven," Julie Casey wrote on the Malibu Divers’ Facebook page, which invited friends to comment.

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"May every heart heal, may every family feel loved, may we cherish every moment with our friends and family. Please may I say their spirits are not far away."

In a family statement, McIlvain's wife, Jasmine Lord, said her husband and his close friend, Guiney, lived their lives to the fullest.

Charles McIlvain

“His laugh was the greatest and his smile could light up the dark,” the family statement said.

“He embraced life with exceptional joy, openness and humor, and all who knew him felt that warmth.”

Charles McIlvain (Courtesy KCAL9)
Authorities said Thursday the bodies of 33 people who died in the fire had been recovered. One person is still missing. The five crew members, including the captain, survived the fire.

The boat fire erupted around 3:15 a.m. on Labor Day killing the 34 people who were below decks sleeping.

DNA will be needed to identify the victims, authorities said.

On the Malibu Divers' tribute page Joseph Mancha recalled McIlvain as "a magical person."

"I must have met Chuck when I was 20 years old," Mancha wrote. "His sense of humor was legendary and I thought the world of him for his work on feature vfx.

"He just seemed impossibly cool and intelligent. We lost track of each and over a dozen years later we ran into each through Imagineering,"
Mancha wrote.

"Really wish this was one his sick jokes. But in memory of good people who go too early please reach and make someone smile... At work, in the line at the grocery store. Wherever you go or wind up, be like Chuck."

On the same tribute page, Newsha Tarifard recalled Guiney as a good friend whose "passion in life was diving -- wherever and whenever she could.

"I'm glad she spent much of the last year and half traveling the world and doing what she loved most," Tarifard wrote.

"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."

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