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California dive boat captain faces new charge in deadly fire

The captain of the ill-fated California dive boat Conception has been indicted on a new federal charge, accusing him of performing with gross negligence when the vessel burst into flames in 2019, killing 34 individuals on board.

A federal grand jury issued the new indictment Tuesday, greater than a month after a decide tossed out the unique case as a result of it did not specify that Captain Jerry Boylan acted with gross negligence throughout one of many deadliest maritime disasters in current US historical past.

Boylan, 68, is once more charged with a single rely of misconduct or neglect of ship officer, a pre-Civil War statute colloquially referred to as “seaman’s manslaughter” that was designed to carry steamboat captains and crew answerable for maritime disasters.

He faces 10 years in jail and is anticipated to be arraigned in the approaching weeks.

Families of 11 victims welcomed the new charge towards Boylan.

Captain Jerry Boylan of the ill-fated California dive boat Conception has been indicted on a new federal charge.
Los Angeles Times through Getty Images
A picture of a boat bursting into flames in 2019, killing 34 people on board.
A federal grand jury accused the 68-year-old of performing with gross negligence when the vessel burst into flames in 2019, killing 34 individuals on board.
CBS

“This tragedy was totally preventable and due to his negligence and inaction 34 lives were lost and our lives changed forever,” the households stated in a joint assertion.

The 79-foot Conception went down in flames on Sept. 2, 2019, throughout a Labor Day diving tour close to an island off the coast of Santa Barbara.

All 33 passengers and a crew member who have been trapped in a bunk room beneath deck died. They ranged in age from 16 to 62.

Boylan and 4 different crew members who have been asleep on the higher deck managed to flee.

A picture of the wrecked boat after it blew up in flames.
The 79-foot Conception went down in flames on Sept. 2, 2019, throughout a Labor Day diving tour off the coast of Santa Barbara.

A picture of the wrecked boat after it blew up in flames.
Boylan and 4 different crew members managed to flee.

Tuesday’s indictment alleges that Boylan “acted with a wanton or reckless disregard for human life by engaging in misconduct, gross negligence, and inattention to his duties.”

He is accused of failing to coach his crew, conduct fire drills, and put up a roving evening watchman on the boat when the fire ignited.

Although federal security investigators by no means discovered the reason for the fire, officers blamed the house owners of the vessel, Truth Aquatics Inc., for an absence of oversight, although they weren’t charged with a criminal offense.

A picture of the wrecked boat after it blew up in flames.
The victims ranged in age from 16 to 62.

A picture of the boat after it blew up in flames.
All 33 passengers and a crew member who have been trapped in a bunk room beneath deck died.

Truth Aquatics sued in federal court docket below a provision in maritime legislation to keep away from payouts to the households of the victims. Family members of the useless have filed claims towards boat house owners Glen and Dana Fritzler and the company, and have sued the US Coast Guard.

Boylan initially was indicted on 34 counts of misconduct or neglect of ship officer in 2020, with every carrying a potential jail time period of 10 years if he was convicted.

Defense legal professionals sought to dismiss these expenses as a result of they argued the deaths have been the results of a single incident and never separate crimes.

A picture the boat before it went up in flames.
Boylan initially was indicted on 34 counts of misconduct or neglect of ship officers in 2020, with a potential jail time period of 10 years for every.
CBS

Before that problem may very well be argued in court docket, prosecutors acquired a superseding indictment this summer season charging Boylan with just one rely alleging his negligence brought about all 34 deaths. If convicted, he would have confronted a most of 10 years in jail.

But in September, US District Judge George Wu stated that indictment didn’t point out gross negligence, which he stated was a required aspect to show the crime of seaman’s manslaughter.

With Post wires

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