The captain of a scuba diving boat that burned and sank off the California coast, killing 34 individuals, pleaded not responsible this week to manslaughter prices.
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 latest 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 night time watchman on the boat when the fireplace ignited.
Boylan, 67, was indicted in December and surrendered for reserving Tuesday morning. He was held in lockup and appeared in court docket by video. He was anticipated to be launched afterward a $250,000 bond.
The uncommon federal prices in opposition to Boylan have been introduced beneath a pre-Civil Struggle legislation designed to carry steamboat captains and crew liable for maritime disasters that have been rather 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.
Boylan spoke little or no throughout the brief listening to, responding to Justice of the Peace Decide Jean Rosenbluth’s questions with “not responsible” and brief solutions.
All 33 passengers and one crew member died within the bunkroom under deck, some carrying sneakers that led to hypothesis they have been making an attempt to flee. Officers mentioned 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 line with coroner’s reviews.
Relations of Charles McIlvain and Justin Dignam watched the continuing on video from a separate courtroom. Rosenbluth apologized they couldn’t be in identical courtroom however mentioned she acknowledged their presence on the listening to.
“We’re right here right now to honor his reminiscence and to characterize the households of all 34 victims,” Kathleen McIlvain mentioned outdoors court docket after the brief listening to. “We hope that is the start of the journey to seek out justice for our family members.”
Federal security investigators blamed the house owners of the vessel, Fact Aquatics Inc., for a scarcity of oversight, although they haven’t been charged with a criminal offense.
Fact Aquatics has sued in federal court docket beneath a provision in maritime legislation to keep away from payouts to the households of the victims. The households of 32 victims have filed claims in opposition to boat house owners Glen and Dana Fritzler and the corporate.
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