California Boat Captain Jerry Boylan Found Guilty in Fire That Killed 34

A memorial for the 34 people who died in the Conception Boat fire

Former ship captain Jerry Boylan, 69, has been found guilty of one count of “seaman’s manslaughter” following a 10-day trial in Los Angeles. The conviction is related to the devastating Conception boat fire that resulted in the deaths of 33 passengers and a crew member in one of California’s worst maritime disasters.

The tragic incident occurred on September 2, 2019, when a fire broke out in the early morning hours while the Conception was anchored near Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara. The vessel was hosting a diving expedition over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Prosecutors argued that Boylan, as the captain, failed to comply with required safety measures, such as having a night watchman and conducting fire drills. All 33 passengers and a crew member sleeping below deck perished in the blaze, which investigators were unable to pinpoint the cause of in October 2020.

Boylan was among the five crew members who managed to escape the fire by jumping overboard and swimming to another nearby vessel. However, the crew members reported that the flames were too intense to rescue anyone trapped below deck.

United States Attorney Martin Estrada remarked, “This ship captain’s unpardonable cowardice led to the deaths of 34 lives on Labor Day 2019.” He emphasized that the tragedy could have been averted had Boylan fulfilled his entrusted duties.

Boylan now faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and is set to learn his fate on February 8.

The victims of the Conception boat fire tragedy include five members of a Californian family celebrating a birthday, marine biologist Kristy Finstad, physics teacher Scott Chan and his daughter Kendra, and Arizona couple Patricia Beitzinger and Neal Baltz.

Family members of the victims expressed mixed emotions upon hearing the verdict, with some finding relief in the conviction while acknowledging that it would not bring their loved ones back. They hope the decision sends a strong message to other ship captains regarding the importance of safety measures and responsible conduct at sea.

Author: CrimeDoor

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter