Survivor Of Boat Fire Sues Owner About Conditions

All News KCBS Radio
September 19, 2019 - 2:05 pm
At Santa Barbara Harbor, material is brought in from the evidence and body-recovery efforts from the Conception boat fire disaster off Santa Cruz Island. Dozens of agencies from California and beyond are assisting in the aftermath of the 34 deaths.

GRETCHEN WENNER/THE STAR, Ventura County Star via Imagn Content Service


One of the crew members to survive the boat that caught fire and killed 34 people on a scuba diving trip off the coast from Santa Barbara, has sued the vessel's owners. 

Ryan Sims, who was seriously injured escaping from the Labor Day disaster, argues in the lawsuit that the owner's safety preparations came up in short in several ways.

He alleges they failed to properly train crew members, didn't provide adequate safety and medical equipment and lacked safety rules.

Related: Crew Slept As Deadly Fire Broke Out On Boat, Feds Say

His lawsuit is the first to be filed in the aftermath of the Conception's destruction and sinking. 

Sims may also be a witness in lawsuits that are expected to be brought by family members of the victims against the owners, said Steven Clark, KCBS Radio's legal analyst. 

"You will see in very short order the victims' families will now seek a lawsuit in court and get this process moving, because they clearly have someone who has a lot of information," said Clark. 

Sims was one of five crew members who slept on the deck when the fire ignited. He broke his leg in three places, jumping down into the water to flee the flames. 

Reporting by Jim Taylor.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sims as the only crew member to survive the fire. Actually, five crew members escaped from the Conception. KCBS Radio regrets the error.