Dive boat captain pleads not guilty in fiery deaths of 34

Nov 10, 2022, 2:10 AM | Updated: 8:46 pm
FILE - The burned hull of the dive boat Conception is brought to the surface by a salvage team off ...

FILE - The burned hull of the dive boat Conception is brought to the surface by a salvage team off Santa Cruz Island, Calif., Sept. 12, 2019. The dive boat captain pleaded not guilty Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in federal court for a second time to manslaughter in the fiery deaths of 34 people trapped below deck on his burning vessel three years ago off the Southern California coast. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dive boat captain pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court for a second time to manslaughter in the fiery deaths of 34 people trapped below deck on his burning vessel three years ago off the Southern California coast.

A federal grand jury issued a new indictment last month alleging that Captain Jerry Boylan acted with gross negligence aboard the Conception during one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent U.S. history. A judge threw out the original case on the third anniversary of the Sept. 2, 2019, tragedy.

The trial is scheduled for Dec. 20 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Boylan faces 10 years in prison if convicted of a single count of misconduct or neglect of a ship officer — a pre-Civil War statute known as “seaman’s manslaughter” that was designed to hold steamboat captains and crew responsible for maritime disasters.

All 33 passengers and a crew member who were trapped in the Conception’s bunk room died.

Boylan, who frantically radioed for help after he and four crew members sleeping above deck awoke to the fire, was the first man overboard and then told his crew to abandon ship rather than fight the fire, the indictment said.

He is accused of failing to train his crew, conduct fire drills and post a roving night watchman on the boat when the fire ignited.

Prosecutors brought the second case against Boylan after U.S. District Judge George Wu in September dismissed the original indictment because it did not mention gross negligence, an element required to prove the crime.

The subsequent indictment alleges Boylan “acted with a wanton or reckless disregard for human life by engaging in misconduct, gross negligence and inattention to his duties.”

Officials blamed the owners of the vessel, Truth Aquatics Inc., for a lack of oversight even though federal safety investigators never found the cause of the fire. The owners, Glen and Dana Fritzler, have not been criminally charged.

Truth Aquatics is seeking to avoid payouts to the families of the victims under a provision in federal maritime law. Family members of the dead have filed claims against the Fritzlers and the company, and have sued the U.S. Coast Guard.

Family members of those who perished at sea showed up for Boylan’s arraignment and said it has been a trying three years seeking accountability.

“It’s been a long journey, a very hard journey. And learning to live with grief is very difficult,” said Susana Solano Rosas, who lost three daughters in the fire. “Today means that hopefully we can see a little bit of justice. … The court is going to move along and try this man, try this captain who allowed our 34 to be killed and burned on that boat.” ___

Associated Press reporter Brian Melley contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Wounded men receive treatment at a hospital after a roadside bomb blast in Mazar-e Sharif, the capi...
Associated Press

Taliban: Roadside bomb kills 6 people in north Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A roadside bomb went off near a bus with government employees during rush hour on Tuesday morning in northern Afghanistan, killing six people, a Taliban official said. Mohammad Asif Waziri, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the police chief in Balkh province, said the bombing in Mazar-e Sharif, the provincial capital, also wounded seven […]
23 hours ago
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem takes part in a panel discussion, Nov. 15, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Gov...
Associated Press

South Dakota’s Noem tries to convince lawmakers on tax cut

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday will try to win over the Republican-controlled Legislature with details of her plan to enact a historic repeal of the state’s tax on groceries. But to deliver on the campaign promise, the Republican governor must convince lawmakers the state can also afford to […]
23 hours ago
File - Mourners gather outside Club Q to visit a memorial, which has been moved from a sidewalk out...
Associated Press

Colorado gay club shooting suspect set to return to court

DENVER (AP) — The suspect accused of entering a Colorado gay nightclub clad in body armor and opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others, is set to appear in court again Tuesday to learn what charges prosecutors will pursue in the attack, including possible hate crime counts. Investigators say […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Monday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Anacortes 64, Meridian 24 Archbishop Murphy 58, Cascade (Everett) 28 Bethel 52, Spanaway Lake 43 Castle Rock 52, Winlock 33 Decatur 85, Kent Meridian 12 Eatonville 78, Foss 38 Evergreen (Seattle) 34, Muckleshoot Tribal School 20 Glacier Peak 42, Everett 40 Hazen 59, Issaquah 47 Kennedy 49, Auburn Riverside 45 Kentridge 51, […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Monday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Anacortes 79, Meridian 44 Asotin 55, Upper Columbia Academy 39 Auburn 72, Kentridge 49 Auburn Riverside 62, Kennedy 55 Chimacum 66, North Mason 53 Evergreen (Seattle) 49, Muckleshoot Tribal School 42 Federal Way 82, Todd Beamer 36 Hudson’s Bay 54, Seton Catholic 44 Kent Meridian 74, Decatur 59 Kentwood 69, Auburn Mountainview […]
23 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about abortion access during a Democratic National Committee even...
Associated Press

Biden’s efforts to protect abortion access hit roadblocks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is still actively searching for ways to safeguard abortion access for millions of women, even as it bumps up against a complex web of strict new state laws enacted in the months after the Supreme Court stripped the constitutional right. Looking to seize on momentum following a midterm election […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Dive boat captain pleads not guilty in fiery deaths of 34