The captain of the California submarine, which caught fire in 2019 and killed 34 people on a weekend trip, has been charged with killing sailors, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Thirty-three passengers and one crew member died after a fire broke out early on Sept. 2 off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in a 75-meter submarine, the Conception.
Captain Jerry Nehl Boylan, one of five crew members who escaped, was indicted by the Grand Jury on Tuesday for killing sailors in 34 cases, the U.S. law firm in Los Angeles said in a statement.
The accusation alleges misconduct and negligence, including failure to guard or patrol at night – this was also highlighted by federal traffic safety officials in October.
The National Transportation Safety Council also blamed the U.S. Coast Guard for failing to enforce the requirement to deploy a roaming night watchman.
The 34 people who died slept under deck when the fire broke out. They were on a Labor Day weekend diving trip. Among the dead were five members of a family and students from two graduate schools.
Boylan is expected to surrender in the coming weeks, the U.S. law firm said.
The ship sank, the exact cause of the fire could not be determined.
NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said in October that regardless of the source of ignition, the focus should be on the present circumstances, which “allowed the fire to go unnoticed and grow to a point where it prevented evacuation.”
Associated Press consented.