The captain of a ship that burned in September 2019 off the coast of California, killing 34 people sleeping on board, was found guilty of criminal negligence by a federal jury.
Jerry Nehl Boylan, 69, captain of the ship Conception, faces up to 10 years in prison. The sentence will be known on February 8.
A total of 33 passengers and one crew member died in the accidental fire of the 22-meter-long ship, which sank while firefighters were trying to put out the flames near the island of Santa Cruz, about 20 kilometers from Santa Barbara, its home port. .
Only five crew members, including Boylan, were able to escape the flames.
"By failing to fulfill his responsibilities as captain of the Conception, Boylan was responsible for the disastrous loss of 34 people who suffered agonizing deaths," said Donald Alway, an FBI official in Los Angeles, quoted in a press release from the prosecutor's office. of Central California.
During the ten days of the trial hearing, a series of faults on the part of the captain were revealed, in particular not having delegated a person on duty, not having carried out fire-fighting exercises and not having attempted to use fire-fighting equipment.
Boylan was also accused of being the first to abandon ship, while the tourist passengers were still alive in the cabins.