California dive boat captain faces new federal cost in fireplace that killed 34


New particulars emerge in CA dive boat fireplace

All six crew members had been asleep earlier than lethal dive boat fireplace, NTSB report says


A federal grant jury issued a brand new indictment Tuesday towards a dive boat captain, alleging that he acted with gross negligence when a 2019 fireplace aboard his vessel led to the deaths of 34 individuals off the Southern California coast.

The brand new indictment comes greater than a month after a choose threw out the unique case as a result of it didn’t specify that Captain Jerry Boylan acted with gross negligence aboard the Conception throughout one of many deadliest maritime disasters in current U.S. historical past. Boylan, 68, is once more charged with a single depend of misconduct or neglect of ship officer, a pre-Civil Conflict statute colloquially generally known as “seaman’s manslaughter” that was designed to carry steamboat captains and crew accountable for maritime disasters. He faces 10 years in jail and is anticipated to be arraigned within the coming weeks. His federal public defenders didn’t instantly return a request for remark Tuesday. Households of 11 victims praised the brand new cost towards Boylan. “This tragedy was completely preventable and attributable to his negligence and inaction 34 lives had been misplaced and our lives modified eternally,” the households stated in a press release. The Conception went down in flames on Sept. 2, 2019, close to an island off the coast of Santa Barbara. All 33 passengers and a crew member who had been trapped in a bunk room beneath deck died. Boylan and 4 different crew members escaped.

FILE — Members of the FBI and different officers work in entrance of the ship Reality, a sister ship of the diving ship Conception, on Sept. 3, 2019, in Santa Barbara, California, following a blaze aboard the dive boat Conception which claimed the lives of 34 individuals. 

Getty Photos

Tuesday’s indictment alleges that Boylan “acted with a wanton or reckless disregard for human life by participating in misconduct, gross negligence and inattention to his duties.” He’s accused of failing to coach his crew, conduct fireplace drills and put up a roving evening watchman on the boat when the hearth ignited.

Though federal security investigators by no means discovered the reason for the hearth, officers blamed the homeowners of the vessel, Reality Aquatics Inc., for an absence of oversight, although they weren’t charged with a criminal offense.Investigators had thought of at one level that the hearth might have been sparked by overheated lithium ion batteries. The tragedy led the U.S. Coast Guard to reissue its emergency water security tips, which embrace limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium ion batteries.Surviving crew members additionally informed the NTSB that the boat’s smoke alarms by no means went off.  A preliminary NTSB report discovered that all six crew members had been asleep when the hearth broke out, which might have been a violation of Coast Guard guidelines requiring there to be a evening watchman on responsibility.Reality Aquatics sued in federal court docket underneath a provision in maritime regulation to keep away from payouts to the households of the victims. Relations of the useless have filed claims towards boat homeowners Glen and Dana Fritzler and the corporate, and have sued the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boylan initially was indicted on 34 counts of misconduct or neglect of ship officer — which the preliminary indictment referred to as seaman’s manslaughter — in 2020, with every carrying a attainable jail time period of 10 years if he was convicted. Protection legal professionals sought to dismiss these costs as a result of they argued the deaths had been the results of a single incident, and never separate crimes. Earlier than that challenge might be argued in court docket, prosecutors obtained a superseding indictment this summer time charging Boylan with just one depend alleging his negligence prompted all 34 deaths. If convicted, he would have confronted a most of 10 years in jail. However in September, on the third anniversary of the tragedy, U.S. District Choose George Wu stated that indictment didn’t point out gross negligence, which he stated was a required ingredient to show the crime of seaman’s manslaughter.


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