The commander of a scuba-diving boat that was demolished by fire a year ago off California has been accused of 34 checks of sailor’s murder.
Jerry Nehl Boylan caused the passings of those on board the Conception “by his offense, carelessness and distractedness to his obligations”, says the prosecution.
Prosecutors allege the 67 year old failed to have a night watchman or conduct fire drills as required by law.
All 33 passengers and a crew member sleeping below deck died.
Family of five among dead in California boat fire
Mr Boylan was among five crew members who managed to escape the blaze on the 75-ft (23m) vessel off Santa Barbara on 2 September 2019.
He is expected to surrender to the authorities at a later date. Each charge of seaman’s manslaughter carries up to 10 years in federal prison.
Kristi Johnson, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said on Tuesday: “This tragedy forever altered the lives of so many families and loved ones, and it deeply affected members of the public who watched in horror. We continue to grieve with them.
“Our hope is that this indictment leads to the prevention of boating accidents and the senseless destruction of lives through proper precautions and training.”
Mr Boylan has not publicly commented on the charges.
What happened to the boat?
The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning while the Conception was moored in Platt’s Harbour near Santa Cruz Island, south of Santa Barbara. At the time, it had been hosting a diving expedition over the Labour Day holiday weekend.
A US National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined the fire began in a middle deck area where lithium-ion batteries were being charged, though it was unclear exactly what ignited the blaze.
Those who survived had been above deck when the blaze broke out. They escaped by jumping overboard and swimming to another vessel nearby, called the Great Escape.
The crew members told investigators that the flames were too intense to save anyone trapped in the passenger quarters.
An amazing jury refered to three government wellbeing infringement: inability to allot a night watch or meandering watch, to lead adequate team preparing or to direct sufficient fire drills.