It won’t be long before California residents and vacationers will begin returning to the activities they enjoy, including cruises, fishing expeditions and scuba excursions. Many fun-seekers charter boats for these events, leaving the responsibility to trained professionals so they can enjoy the scenery and relax with friends and family. However, in the shadow of last year’s deadly fire aboard the MV Conception, several families are preparing wrongful death claims as they struggle with new information about the last minutes of their loved ones who were on an excursion.
Thirty-four people died when a fire broke out and sank the charter vessel in Sept. 2019. The captain and crew survived, and records show that they were likely sleeping when the fire erupted instead of taking turns on night watch as regulations require. This is the first of a series of safety violations the families claim resulted in the terrifying and needless deaths of their loved ones. Other violations include overloaded electrical chargers, narrow access to the only escape hatch and poorly marked exits.
The California coroner’s report indicates that all the victims died of carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation before their bodies were burned in the fire. The report describes in harrowing detail how some of the victims were found fully dressed with their shoes on, which is unusual since the fire broke out around 3 a.m. To grieving families, this may suggest that their loved ones were trying to find a way to escape the deadly fire.
When loved ones die in tragic accidents, it can be difficult for family members to carry on. Life after an unexpected death can seem upside down, especially when simple safety precautions may have prevented the tragedy. Those who are facing similar circumstances often find some peace of mind by speaking with a skilled attorney who has experience handling a variety of wrongful death cases.