Back in 2019, a dive boat had caught fire and resulted in 34 people dying when it sank. This incident had taken place near the California coast.
The captain of this dive boat is now facing federal charges for the manslaughter of seamen. The incident was one of the deadliest disasters in the state under the maritime disasters. A US court of appropriate jurisdiction found the captain guilty on Monday.
Jerry Boylan, aged 70, was found guilty by Los Angeles’ U.S. District Court jury. He was charged with “misconduct or neglect of a ship officer” under an old federal law from the 1800s.
This serious conviction comes after a 10-day trial and can lead to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Thom Mrozek from the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed this. Boylan is currently out on $75,000 bond, and his sentencing is scheduled for February 8.
Captain Jerry Boylan was in charge of the 75-foot dive boat named Conception. This boat had caught fire on a Labor Day weekend diving trip. This happened on September 2, 2019, near Santa Cruz Island, California.
The boat was anchored in Platt’s Harbor off the Santa Barbara Coast. Tragically, the fire took the lives of 33 passengers and one crew member who were asleep in a bunk room below deck when the blaze erupted.
Federal investigators couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause. However, they discovered that the fire started at the back of the main deck. There, the passengers had plugged in devices with lithium-ion battery chargers.