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Captain of scuba boat to face trial after fatal fire

Jerry Boylan, right, captain of the scuba dive boat Conception, arrives in Federal court in Los Angeles. Associated Press/Photo by Damian Dovarganes

Captain of scuba boat to face trial after fatal fire

The federal trial began Tuesday for Jerry Boylan, the captain of the Conception, a boat that caught fire and sank off the coast of Southern California. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 34 people. The incident occurred on Labor Day in 2019 on the last day of the vessel’s three-day trip. Investigators said the 75-foot boat was anchored near the Channel Islands, about 25 miles south of Santa Barbara. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Why is the captain being charged? The National Transportation Safety Board blamed Boylan for the tragedy, citing his failure to post a roving night watchman who could have spotted the blaze. Boylan and four others dove overboard while the victims below deck perished. Boylan faces one count of misconduct or neglect of a ship officer and could face ten years behind bars if convicted.

Dig deeper: Read Lynde Langdon’s original report on the fire in The Sift.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

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