UPDATED 6:05 PM PT – Wednesday, December 2, 2020
A dive boat captain was charged in one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent U.S. history.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted 67-year-old Jerry Boylan on 34 counts of ‘seaman’s manslaughter.’
According to reports, the ‘Conception Boat’ went down on Labor Day 2019 after some lithium-ion batteries allegedly caught fire while they were being charged.
Boylan and four crew members were able to escape while all 33 passengers and one other crew member died in the blaze.
Federal prosecutors accused Boylan of misconduct and negligence for improperly training his crew. He also failed to hold scheduled fire drills for crew safety.
Boylan allegedly failed to follow proper safety protocols. Prosecutors said he was responsible for the safety of his passengers as well as his crew members.
According to coroner reports, all of the victims died of smoke inhalation while trying to escape. The fires blocked and prevented their exit.
The cause of the fire has been under investigation for approximately a year and investigators said the cause may be impossible to pin down. Though the fire may not have been preventable, authorities argued the deaths of the passengers most certainly were.
Each of the 34 charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.