Boat Captain Charged in Connection To 34 Deaths

Boat Captain Charged in Connection To 34 Deaths

( – The fire on board a scuba diving boat in 2019 was the worst maritime tragedy in modern U.S. history, and on November 6, the skipper was found guilty of criminal negligence, causing the deaths of a total of 34 individuals.

On one count of negligence of a ship officer or misconduct, generally known as “seaman’s manslaughter,” a U.S. District Court jury found 70-year-old Jerry Boylan guilty. The federal murder law dates back to steamboat tragedies at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The maximum sentence for a felony conviction is ten years in jail. On February 8th, sentencing will take place.

The Conception, anchored near Santa Cruz Island, caught fire and sank less than a hundred feet off the coast of the island prior to dawn.

A crew member and thirty-three passengers were killed after they became trapped in their bed chamber below deck. Boylan was among the five survivors who jumped overboard from the ship’s upper deck just before it sank in the Pacific. According to statements made by investigators, the fire was so severe that it was impossible to rescue anyone from the passenger compartments below.

The jury agreed with the prosecution that Boylan’s inattentiveness to his responsibilities, gross carelessness, and misbehavior constituted a careless disregard for their lives.

Prosecutors say Boylan’s failure to provide adequate firefighting training and maintain a roaming night watch are examples of his neglect. He abandoned ship first, leaving the burning vessel without broadcasting a warning over the ship’s intercom to those below deck. He did nothing to help the passengers or put out the fire.

Boylan’s attorneys claimed that their client only abandoned ship when he realized he had no chance of survival aboard the boat and the fire was closing in too swiftly for him to stay inside.

The source of the fire is still unknown, but investigators discovered that it started toward the back of the main deck, where people had been charging their phones and other gadgets with lithium-ion batteries.

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