Captain Of Dive Boat Conception Convicted In Fire That Killed 34

A jury ruled a former captain guilty in the four-year-old Conception boat fire that massacred 33 passengers and a crew member.

Jerry Boylan, 69, was deemed guilty of a single count of misconduct or negligence of a ship officer, sometimes known as seaman’s manslaughter, on Monday.

Representation Image

He faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and will be sentenced on February 8.

At first, he was happy, but now it’s more like relief, remarked James Adamic. He added that there’s nothing that can bring loved ones back.

Adamic’s son, daughter, and grandchild were on board.

Perhaps most significant is the message it sends out to other captains, a lot of whom admitted acting recklessly, Adamic went on to say.

The fatal fire occurred early on September 2, 2019, when the dive boat was moored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, some 22 kilometres southwest of Santa Barbara.

The ship was carrying 39 persons when it caught fire: 33 guests and six crew members. Those sleeping below deck perished when the fire overtook the ship.

Federal investigators reported in October 2020 that they could not ascertain what caused the fire.

They discovered it started in the back of the ship’s main deck salon, where the divers had plugged in cell phones, flashlights, and other electronic devices.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, Boylan violated his duty as captain by being the first crewmember to evacuate the vessel without using a public address system to alert the passengers about the fire.

Furthermore, federal prosecutors alleged that Boylan did not use the onboard equipment, which included an extinguisher, to battle the fire and did not keep a night watch, allowing the blaze to grow undetected throughout the vessel.

References- CBS News, AP News

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