LOS ANGELES — The captain of a scuba diving boat that burned and sank off the California coast, killing 34 individuals, pleaded not responsible Tuesday to manslaughter fees.
Jerry Boylan was arraigned in federal court docket in Los Angeles on 34 counts of seaman’s manslaughter. Every rely carries a possible 10-year jail time period.
Prosecutors say Boylan didn’t comply with security guidelines earlier than the fireplace broke out Sept. 2, 2019, on the Conception and led to one of many deadliest maritime disasters in current U.S. historical past.
Boylan was accused of “misconduct, negligence and inattention” by failing to coach his crew, conduct hearth drills and have a roving evening watchman on the boat when the fireplace ignited.
The uncommon federal fees in opposition to Boylan have been introduced below a pre-Civil Warfare regulation designed to carry steamboat captains and crew answerable for maritime disasters that have been far more frequent on the time.
Boylan and 4 different crew members, who had all been sleeping, escaped from the fiery boat after the captain made a panicked mayday name.
All 33 passengers and one crew member died within the bunkroom under deck, some sporting sneakers that led to hypothesis they have been attempting to flee. Officers stated they have been trapped by flames that blocked a stairwell and a small hatch that have been the one exits. All died of smoke inhalation, in keeping with coroner’s reviews.
Federal security investigators blamed the homeowners of the vessel, Fact Aquatics Inc., for a scarcity of oversight, although they haven’t been charged with against the law.
Fact Aquatics has sued in federal court docket below a provision in maritime regulation to keep away from payouts to the households of the victims. The households of 32 victims have filed claims in opposition to boat homeowners Glen and Dana Fritzler and the corporate.
Stefanie Dazio And Brian Melley, The Related Press