Owner Of Scuba Diving Boat That Killed 34 People Liquidates Company
The owner of a scuba diving boat that sank off the California coast after bursting into flames has sold his two remaining boats, likely to satisfy the many wrongful death lawsuits that have been filed against his company. The boats were sold to another scuba diving company. Glen Fritzler, the owner of the boat that killed 34 people, said that neither he nor his family will be involved in the venture that now owns his boats. The company that purchased the boats said that they will inspect the boats and make the necessary improvements before boarding passengers.
The dive boat Conception had boarded passengers when a fire broke out above deck. The passengers were all in the bunk room below deck when the fire broke out. All 34 passengers were killed and one crew member lost his life as well. All 35 people died of smoke inhalation but likely would have suffered severe burns as well. Even witches who were burned at the stake ended up dying of smoke inhalation, so it wasn’t an easy or pain-free death.
The captain of the boat is facing 34 counts of negligent homicide or “seaman’s manslaughter” as it called when it happens at sea. The captain is accused of negligence, failing to properly train his crew, failing to conduct fire drills, and failing to have a night watchman watch over the boat when there were passengers aboard.
While federal authorities blamed the scuba company for the deaths, Fritzler has not personally faced any charges. He is, however, facing several wrongful death lawsuits relating to the deaths of his passengers.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
It is unclear how many families will file wrongful death lawsuits against the company. However, wrongful deaths typically settle for at least $1 million. In a case like this, when several able-bodied adults die, those with dependents or spouses will be entitled to the prorated amount of their earnings. The money earned from divesting the boats will end up in a trust to pay off the wrongful death lawsuits filed by the passengers’ loved ones.
Initially, the company had sued to limit its liability concerning payments to family members who lost loved ones in the accident. However, the company has decided to pause that lawsuit and allow the wrongful death lawsuits to proceed. Afterward, it can be determined if the company’s liability will be limited under Maritime law. Maritime law can restrict the total payout made to injured plaintiffs to the total value of the boat. The matter will be decided once a ruling has been reached on the merit of the wrongful death lawsuits.
Talk to a Miami Maritime Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured aboard a ship at sea, call the Miami admiralty & maritime attorneys at Michael F. Guilford today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the circumstances surrounding your injury in greater detail.