Ex-Patriots Employee Among Those Killed in Tragic California Boat Fire

Marybeth Guiney, of Santa Monica, was on the commercial scuba boat that erupted in flames on Labor Day

A former employee of the New England Patriots was among the nearly three dozen people killed in a boat fire off the coast of southern California early Monday morning.

Marybeth Guiney, 51, of Santa Monica, was on the commercial scuba boat that erupted in flames off the coast near Santa Cruz Island on Labor Day, according to the Torrance Daily Breeze.

Guiney, a sales director and ocean enthusiast who was dedicated to the protection of sharks and other sea life, was hailed by friends as an outgoing figure who always had a smile.

"She was such an inspiration, a voice to help understand and protect sharks, and shared her pictures and stories as she traveled the world," one friend wrote on Facebook. "She was endlessly energetic, optimistic and always had a smile to share. Just can't believe it. What a tragedy for so many."

Another wrote: "Her gentle and sweet nature made her a great companion ... Marybeth was 'good people.'"' Another added: "You were hysterical. You were real. I will always think about you and smile."

Guiney once worked for the Patriots. The team released a statement on her death Wednesday.

"The New England Patriots organization is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Marybeth Guiney. We send our sincerest sympathies to her family and all who mourn Marybeth’s loss," read the statement.

Thirty-four people were killed in the fast-moving fire, which is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Bureau.

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