Indian American couple from Connecticut killed in boat fire

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Kaustubh Nirmal and Sanjeeri Deopujari. Photo: Facebook.

An Indian American couple from Stamford, CT are among the 34 people killed in a boat fire in California, earlier this week.

Kaustubh Nirmal, 44, was a business analyst at Merrill Lynch in New York City, and his wife, Sanjeeri Deopujari, 31, was a dentist practicing at Aspen Dental in Norwalk, CT.

The couple, who were married in December 2016, lived in an apartment building at 50 Forest St, reported the Stamford Advocate.

Nirmal’s cousin, Rajul Sharma told the Los Angeles Times, they were the perfect couple.

“He found a soulmate in Sanjeeri,” Sharma said, recalling their endearing and infectious smiles. “Their love for each other was apparent even without them speaking about it.”

Sharma said he had known Nirmal since the day he was born. An avid animal lover, Nirmal sensitive and polite, never wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, reported the Advocate.

“God took them away from us untimely and unfairly, but even he didn’t have the heart to separate them in death,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Reports said Nirmal grew up in Jaipur, and Deopujari was from Nagpur in India. Deopujari, was the daughter of Satish Deopujari, a Nagpur-based pediatrician.

“The entire family is in a state of shock. All we know is that the process of DNA mapping is under way,” Dr Deopujari’s brother, Kishor, told the India Times, reported the Advocate.

The Los Angeles Times reported a preliminary investigation into the Conception boat fire has suggested serious safety deficiencies aboard the vessel, including the lack of a “roaming night watchman” who is required to be awake and alert passengers in the event of a fire or other dangers, according to several law enforcement sources familiar with the inquiry.

The probe also has raised questions about whether the crew was adequately trained and whether passengers received a complete safety briefing, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have approval to comment publicly about the case, reported the Times.

Investigators have so far interviewed surviving crew members and others connected to the worst maritime disaster in recent California history.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are joining the investigation into the fire, which started in the early morning hours Monday while the ship was anchored off Santa Cruz Island.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman declined to comment other than to describe the investigation as wide-ranging.

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