'It's been hard:' Funeral services held for Oostburg marine biologist killed in boat fire

OOSTBURG -- Funeral services were held Saturday, Sept. 21 in Sheboygan County for Kristy Finstad, one of 34 people killed in a horrific boat fire in California.

Finstad, 41, was a marine biologist from Oostburg.

The visitation was held Saturday afternoon  at Wenig Funeral Home in Oostburg, with a memorial reception following.

Her family said they were grateful for the outpouring of support.

"It means an awful lot," said Al Harmeling, Finstad's stepfather. "It's been a whirlwind the last few weeks, with the death, of course, and trying to say our goodbyes. It's been hard, but with this love and support of family and friends, it's made it easier, and we're thankful for that."

Kristy Finstad

Finstad was set to be buried during a private ceremony.

The scuba diving boat Conception burned and sank off Santa Cruz Island before dawn on Sept. 2. The passengers and one crew member were trapped in a bunkroom below deck. Five crew members survived.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report Thursday that said all six crew members were asleep.

That's a violation of the Coast Guard's rules. Boats like the Conception are required to have a crew member keep watch at night.

Federal authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly fire.