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New criminal charges for captain of dive boat which burned in Channel Islands, killing 34 people

Ventura County Fire Department
The captain of a dive boat which caught on fire, and burned in the Channel Islands killing 34 people is facing a new federal indictment.

New indictment claims misconduct, gross negligence, and inattention to his duties.

A federal grand jury issued a new criminal indictment against the captain of a dive boat which was swept by fire in the Channel Islands, killing 34 people.

The September, 2019 fire engulfed the dive boat Conception as it was anchored near Santa Cruz Island. Federal investigators never determined the exact cause, but think it was an electrical fire. All 33 passengers, and one crew member were trapped below deck in the bunk area by the early morning blaze.

Prosecutors filed charges against Captain Jerry Boylan. They say the boat didn’t have a roving watch, which could have warned people. And, they claim the crew members on deck didn’t try to rescue the trapped people, or fight the fire.

It’s the second time Boylan has faced federal charges. A previous indictment was dismissed because it didn’t include the gross negligence charge. The new indictment alleges Boylan is guilty of misconduct, gross negligence, and inattention to his duties.

He hasn't appeared in court yet to formally face the new charges, so he hasn't had the chance to enter pleas.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.