Volunteer killed in dive boat fire

Shelter mourns loss of volunteer who perished in dive boat fire

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A California animal shelter is mourning the loss of a beloved volunteer and Humane Educator who lost her life in a devastating dive boat fire in the Channel Islands of Southern California. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter let Facebook followers know that Diana Adamic was among the 34 victims of the deadly fire that broke out on the 75-foot Conception over the Labor Day weekend.

Adamic was accompanied on the excursion by her daughter Tia, her friend Bernice and husband, Steve Salika; they all perished in the blaze.

The shelter shared thoughts from former SCCAS Humane Educator, Jen Walker, about Diana, Tia and Bernice, whom she worked closely with for many years:

Diana was kind and insightful, somehow both intense and humble, and above all authentic.

Her compassionate, inquisitive nature and personal experiences drove her to seek innovated ways to make the community around her a better place. She was an ally to all living things – orphan kittens, wild birds, youth volunteers – and a champion for the natural world around us.

She was always willing to ask the hard questions, even about herself, and move into action to make positive solutions happen.


She was an includer – exploring ways to understand different points of view and endeavoring to find win-win resolutions for everyone involved (cats to sparrows, two at-odds summer camp kids, herself and her friends).

In her role as Education Volunteer and then Humane Educator at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, she modeled the ethics and empathy that we sought to nurture in both youth volunteers and summer campers: being responsible stewards to our world, taking and giving care as best as we can. Diana was a shining light in that. She was an integral part of the SCCAS/Native Animal Rescue Catio Tours, summer Critter Camp, and our Youth Advocates volunteer program.

Walker describes Diana’s daughter, Tia, as an “amazing young woman, filled with shy grace and the purest enthusiasm.” Tia “helped care for foster kittens, brought human touch and company to homeless cats and dogs at the Shelter, and supported other youth in their journeys.”

Walker added:

Her dear friend Bernice was a model of gentle support for the animals and children she worked with at the Shelter. Her calm and easy-going manner was a true gift that she shared with us. These three stellar individuals were invaluable members of both the Shelter team and Santa Cruz. They will be deeply mourned but also celebrated.”

The cause of the deadly fire remains under investigation. The boat remains in 65 feet of water off of Santa Cruz Island.

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