Dive boat captain faces new charge in California’s worst modern maritime disaster, which killed 34 people
The captain of a dive boat that ran aground in the middle of a surf break off the coast of Santa Barbara has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct under the Jones Act, the Department of Justice says.
Investigators believe the dive boat, the Jaws of Life, was driven into rocks by a strong and dangerous current, according to a Department of Justice press release Monday (Nov. 5).
The 33-foot Jaws of Life, registered as VX-33, ran aground on Nov. 2, 2017, in a surf break in Santa Barbara, California, leaving 34 people dead or missing and 25 still unaccounted for.
A third person, a woman, died by suicide in December, according to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office.
Venturous sport diver
The Jaws of Life was built in 2013 and owned by Jaws of Life, a company that owns a chain of dive ships operated by its captain, Edward Ebbesen, according to the United States Coast Guard.
Ebbesen took the dive boat for a day-long voyage off the California coast in 2014, according to documents obtained by CBS News.
He told Coast Guard investigators the boat was fully loaded with dive gear, air tanks, diving helmets, a dive computer and other gear, according to the department.
“In his experience, he has never had a vessel leave a dive site on a tide that has a significant change in water movement and velocity,” an investigator wrote in a Coast Guard report.
The Coast Guard released this photo of the watery scene, on Nov. 4, 2017, just before the Jaws of Life capsized off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The boat had a crew of 33 and was loaded with diving equipment Credit: Coast Guard
Ebbesen and his crew were on a day-long trip on the ship and the weather was not ideal, according to the Coast Guard.
His dive vessel capsized on Nov.