Indictment was handed down this week on one count of misbehavior or negligence of a ship officer against the captain of a diving boat that caught fire three years ago off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, killing 34 persons on board.
When the fire broke out aboard the Conception on September 2, 2019, 68-year-old Captain Jerry Boylan was reportedly the first crew member to get off the ship.
The accusation states that he “did not execute any lifesaving or firefighting efforts whatsoever at the time of the incident, although he was unhurt,” and that he also did not utilize the ship’s public address system to alert passengers.
Boylan is also charged with not having a night watch and not having proper fire drills.
Boyland was among the five crew members who were sleeping when the fire started on the top deck. Although the crew members all made it out alive, 33 passengers and another staff member who were below deck all perished due to smoke inhalation.
The family of the victims stated in a statement, “This tragedy was absolutely avoidable and due to his incompetence and inactivity 34 lives were lost and our lives were impacted forever.”
Even though the exact origin of the fire has never been established, it was discovered to have begun towards the rear of the main deck, where flammable lithium-ion batteries were being charged.
A federal court dismissed the first accusations against Boylan on the grounds that they did not establish gross negligence, prompting Tuesday’s fresh indictment.