LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dive boat captain pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court for the second time to manslaughter in the fiery deaths of 34 people trapped under the deck of his burning vessel three years ago. years off the southern California coast.

A federal grand jury issued a new indictment last month alleging Captain Jerry Boylan acted with gross negligence aboard the Conception in one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent US history. United. A judge dismissed the original case on the third anniversary of the September 2, 2019 tragedy.

The trial is scheduled for December 20 in the US District Court in Los Angeles.

Boylan faces 10 years in prison if convicted of a single count of misconduct or negligence to a ship’s officer – a pre-Civil War law known as “manslaughter of a sailor” which was designed to hold steamship captains and crew accountable for maritime disasters.

All 33 passengers and one crew member who were trapped in the Conception’s bunk room died.

Boylan, who frantically radioed for help after he and four crew members sleeping above deck awoke to the fire, was the first man overboard and later told his crew to abandon ship rather than fight the fire, according to the indictment.

He is accused of failing to train his crew, conduct fire drills and post a roving night watchman on the boat when the fire broke out.

Prosecutors brought the second case against Boylan after U.S. District Judge George Wu in September dismissed the original indictment because it failed to mention gross negligence, a required element to prove the crime.

The subsequent indictment alleges that Boylan “acted with wanton or reckless disregard for human life by engaging in gross negligence, misconduct, and disregard of duty.”

Officials blamed the ship’s owners, Truth Aquatics Inc., for a lack of oversight, even though federal safety investigators never found the cause of the fire. The owners, Glen and Dana Fritzler, have not been criminally charged.

Truth Aquatics is seeking to avoid payments to victims’ families under a provision of federal maritime law. Family members of the dead filed lawsuits against the Fritzlers and company, and sued the US Coast Guard.

Family members of those who perished at sea have come forward for Boylan’s arraignment and say it has been a difficult three years to hold to account.

“It has been a long journey, a very difficult journey. And learning to live with grief is very difficult,” said Susana Solano Rosas, who lost three daughters to the fire. “Today means that hopefully we can see some justice. … The court will go ahead and try this man, try this captain who allowed our 34 people to be killed and burned on this boat. ___

Associated Press reporter Brian Melley contributed to this report.

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