Bill would change maritime liability rules after Conception boat fire off California coast

By STEFANIE DAZIO

LOS ANGELES — Federal lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would change 19th century maritime liability rules in response to the 2019 boat fire off the coast of Southern California that killed 34 people.

The bill would update the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, under which boat owners can limit their liability to the value of the remains of the vessel. In the case of the Conception, the scuba diving boat where an inferno trapped 33 passengers and one crew member in the bunkroom below deck, the boat was a total loss.

The legislation would be retroactively applied to the families of Conception victims if it passes, officials said. The tragedy was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent U.S. history.

The bill, sponsored by California Democrats Rep. Salud Carbajal and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would mean that owners of small passenger vessels could be held legally responsible for maritime accidents. The owners would be mandated to compensate victims and their families regardless of the value of the boat after the incident.

The 1851 law is a time-tested legal maneuver that has been successfully employed by owners of the Titanic and countless other crafts, some as small as Jet Skis. It has its origins in 18th century England and was meant to promote the shipping business.

Carbajal, who represents the area where the Conception disaster occurred, said the 2019 fire prompted lawmakers to see how they could help the victims’ families.

“While nothing makes up for the loss, at the very least they’d get just and fair compensation that’s owed to them,” he told The Associated Press. “The aftermath of this tragedy brought this to light.”

Feinstein, in a statement, said the law “doesn’t account for modern tourism such as commercial dive boats.”

The Passenger Vessel Association, a trade group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the current act, the company Truth Aquatics and owners Glen and Dana Fritzler have to show they were not at fault in the Conception disaster. Even if the captain or crew are officially blamed, the Fritzlers and their insurance company could avoid paying a dime under the law.

The Fritzlers’ suit to limit their liability remains ongoing in federal court. Attorneys for the couple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Jeffrey Goodman, an attorney for the families, told AP the “long overdue” legislation may not really affect the Conception case because the Fritzlers do not have many assets to compensate the families.

However, Goodman said the bill is important in a broader sense to hold boat owners and operators accountable.

“Removing the financial protections provided (to) them will promote maritime safety moving forward,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the disaster did not find the cause of the fire, but it blamed the vessel’s owners for a lack of oversight and said failing to post a night watch allowed flames to spread quickly.

The Conception’s captain, Jerry Boylan, pleaded not guilty in February to rare federal manslaughter charges. Prosecutors say Boylan failed to follow safety rules before the fire broke out Sept. 2, 2019, by failing to train his crew, conduct fire drills and have a roving night watchman on the boat when the fire ignited. His case is pending.

Boylan and four other crew members, who had all been sleeping above deck, escaped from the fiery boat after the captain made a panicked mayday call.

___

Associated Press writer Brian Melley contributed to this story.

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Tiger Woods is transferred to a new LA hospital as fellow golfers express their hopes for full recovery

By Travis Caldwell | CNN

Following a car accident Tuesday morning in California that resulted in significant leg injuries and required an extraction from his vehicle by first responders, Tiger Woods now begins the arduous recovery process.

A new chapter began Thursday with his transfer to a second Los Angeles-area hospital for “continuing orthopedic care and recovery,” according to a statement.

Dr. Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, confirmed that Woods was moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which is approximately 20 miles away.

“On behalf of our staff, it was an honor to provide orthopedic trauma care to one of our generation’s greatest athletes,” Mahajan said in the statement.

Woods’ injuries include “comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones,” Mahajan said Tuesday, meaning the bones broke into more than two pieces and pierced the skin. A rod was inserted into the tibia to stabilize the leg. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.

Woods told investigators at the hospital after the accident that “he had no recollection of the crash” that left him seriously injured, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday.

Cedars-Sinai network is known for sports rehabilitations

The reasons for Woods’ transfer have not been released, yet facilities affiliated with Cedars-Sinai are known for their sports medicine and related surgeries. Should Woods and his family choose to continue care within its network, options are available in terms of recovery.

The Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute provides orthopedic surgeries, and practitioners at their clinics work with Los Angeles-area sports teams. Other professional athletes from around the country have had procedures performed at their centers.

The California Rehabilitation Institute, a partnership between Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Health and Select Medical, provides programs as well for those on the mend.

The institute is “the largest inpatient facility of its kind on the West Coast,” according to its website, and “is designed to help each patient recover the strength, skills and independence they need to return home and resume their lives.”

Golf pros continue to show support

Webb Simpson, who is tied atop the Thursday leaderboard at the PGA WGC-Workday Championship in Florida, shared his thoughts on Woods, saying his focus was on the golfer’s well-being.

“Of course you think about the golf career, you think about what he’s done for the game, but the thing I kept thinking about was his kids and how thankful I am that he made it out of that,” Simpson said.

He added, “The biggest thing I was concerned with, following the news and texting buddies, trying to figure out what was going on was, ‘Is he OK? Is he going to make it?’”

Phil Mickelson expressed similar sentiments Thursday after his round at a PGA Tour Champions event in Arizona.

“All the guys here understand and appreciate what he has meant to the game of golf, and for us and the PGA Tour. We are all very appreciative and supportive of what he has done for us. But right now, that is so far from our minds,” Mickelson said.

“I thought Rory McIlroy really said it well when he said that we’re just lucky and appreciative that his kids didn’t lose their father. We all are hoping and praying for a full and speedy recovery. We are all so thankful because that looked awful. We are thankful that he is still with us,” Mickelson said.

McIlroy said on Wednesday when asked about a potential career comeback for Woods, “He’s not Superman… He’s a human being at the end of the day. And he’s already been through so much. At this stage I think everyone should just be grateful that he’s here, that he’s alive, that his kids haven’t lost their dad.

“That’s the most important thing. Golf is so far from the equation right now, it’s not even on the map at this point,” McElroy said.

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Navy ends search and rescue operation for sailor overboard the USS Roosevelt

A search and rescue effort for a sailor presumed overboard off the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been called off, and the sailor is presumed dead, Navy officials from the Third Fleet announced late Saturday, Dec. 12.

Two days ago, the ship’s crew initiated the search after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water at 7:30 a.m. A sailor was unaccounted for during a command-wide muster, officials said.

The search off the Southern California coast — which included the Roosevelt and four other Navy ships, Navy aircraft and the U.S. Coast Guard — covered more than 607 square nautical miles for more than 55 hours. The sailor’s family was notified before the search efforts ended.

“The loss of our sailor is felt deeply by all on board,” Capt. Eric Anduze, commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt, said in a statement on Saturday. “The entire Theodore Roosevelt team sends our deepest condolences to the family of our missing shipmate.”

The incident remains under investigation.

The carrier left San Diego on Monday for a second 2020 deployment.

 

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Anaheim restaurant worker freed after her hand is caught in a food grinder

Paramedics rescued a woman after her hand became trapped in a food processor while she was working at a restaurant in Anaheim on Tuesday, May 19.

An employee of Pupseria Comalapa #2 at 1781 W. Lincoln Ave. was feeding produce into a grinder when her right hand got caught in the apparatus at about 6 p.m., Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said. Alert coworkers quickly shut down the machine after learning what had happened and called for medical aid.

“The had to give her some medication when they got there, because she was obviously in a lot of pain,” Carringer said.

A team from Anaheim Fire & Rescue had to unbolt a portion of the food processor so they could free the patient and take her to UCI Medical Center, Carringer said. The machine’s hopper could still be seen wrapped around her forearm as she was wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance at about 6:32 p.m.

However, she was expected to survive and her injuries were described as minor by paramedics.

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Anaheim restaurant worker freed after her hand is caught in a food grinder

Paramedics rescued a woman after her hand became trapped in a food processor while she was working at a restaurant in Anaheim on Tuesday, May 19.

An employee of Pupseria Comalapa #2 at 1781 W. Lincoln Ave. was feeding produce into a grinder when her right hand got caught in the apparatus at about 6 p.m., Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said. Alert coworkers quickly shut down the machine after learning what had happened and called for medical aid.

“The had to give her some medication when they got there, because she was obviously in a lot of pain,” Carringer said.

A team from Anaheim Fire & Rescue had to unbolt a portion of the food processor so they could free the patient and take her to UCI Medical Center, Carringer said. The machine’s hopper could still be seen wrapped around her forearm as she was wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance at about 6:32 p.m.

However, she was expected to survive and her injuries were described as minor by paramedics.

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Santa Cruz surfer killed in shark attack had O.C. ties

WATCH: Drone video of great white sharks off Seacliff Beach in Santa Cruz.

CLICK HERE if you’re having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile device.

Officials have confirmed that the surfer who was killed in a shark attack on Saturday at Manresa State Beach in Santa Cruz County was 26-year-old Ben Kelly, owner of Ben Kelly Surfboards.

The Santa Cruz County coroner’s office identified Kelly, who was attacked at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday by an unknown shark species about a mile south of the main parking lot, California State Parks said in a statement.

Kelly was pronounced dead at the scene and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has notified his family.

According to the “about” section on his company’s website, Kelly is a self-taught surfboard shaper with boards “well represented here at home in Santa Cruz, California” and across the globe in Bali, South Africa, Mexico, Central America, Peru and in Hawaii.

A video posted on his company’s website shows Kelly shaping a surfboard at his Watsonville production studio Paradise Fiberglass.

“What started as a way to fuel my own surfing passion has now become a way to stoke out my fellow surfers, and that is truly fulfilling for me,” Kelly said in his bio. “It’s the way I have found to give back to others.”

On Kelly’s company Instagram page, where he posted a photo May 4 of his latest surfboard project, Aly Thompson, who said she was a resident assistant with Kelly in 2014 at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, posted a comment saying that she is “devastated.”

“I can’t imagine all that your family, Katie, and all those who loved you are holding right now,” Thompson said. “It was an honor to know you and to experience the capacity and ferocity you loved others with. Our year as RAs together was an absolute joy, and I am thankful to have known and experienced life with you in it. Praying for peace that surpasses all understanding and sending so much love.”

On the same post, Jeremy Pedron said he was heartbroken.

“Ben you have always been of the truly kindest & sweetest individuals out there,” Pedron said. “Your love of others always has a felt impact on your community. Your family is in our prayers and our hearts sad. God take care of him for us he deserves the best.”

Kelly and his wife also had a social marketing company, Authentic Approach.

According to the sheriff’s office, the attack occurred within 100 yards offshore near Sand Dollar Beach. The park is about five miles west of Watsonville.

Raymond Silver, who shot drone footage of sharks for his YouTube channel Stingray FPV, said he went out to some cliffs just south of New Brighton State Beach on April 30 and saw about 10 sharks in total around that area of Monterey Bay and said that his colleague Eric Mailander saw about 31 sharks over several days.

Silver said while he was shooting the drone footage he saw a kayaker and a couple swimming on the beach. He rushed over to the couple first, who were just 500 feet away from one of the sharks, Silver said, and yelled at them to get out of the water.

“They were about knee-deep in water, and one of them was so close,” Silver said. “They said they knew there were sharks, but they thought they would be near the cement ship where they usually hang out.”

Silver called Kelly’s death “tragic.” He said that in the past there have been “plenty of posters up” warning surfers and swimmers to watch out for sharks, but to his surprise, he said he didn’t find them at the closed-down state beach.

“There’s definitely a large presence right now,” Silver said. “This is the most I’ve seen in one spot. Most surfers go to the kelp beds, and the sharks stay away from those. At Manresa, there was a good amount of surf and not much kelp.”

Given that the sharks he saw were about 8 to 12 feet long, Silver said he suspects that most of them were juveniles that tend to travel along the coast to hunt before adulthood, when they go out into the open ocean.

On Saturday, Gabe McKenna, public safety superintendent with California State Parks, said a person flagged down a lifeguard patrolling the area to report the attack.

The water a mile south and a mile north of the attack will be closed for five days, until Thursday, May 14.

Officials are urging people to avoid the area. Signs have been posted at beach entrances and access points warning beachgoers about the attack.

Santa Cruz County closed all of its parks and beaches and banned surfing as part of the shelter-in-place order put in place to stem the coronavirus pandemic. But it reopened them and allowed surfing again in mid-April.

Shark attacks are very rare. According to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum, which tracks shark attacks, there were just 64 unprovoked attacks on humans worldwide in 2019. Three have occurred in California.

In March, a shark bit the board of a paddleboarder near Capitola, narrowly missing him, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Vehicle hits construction equipment in Anaheim; worker knocked into 15-foot-deep hole and is rescued

ANAHEIM — A construction worker was rescued from a 15-foot-deep hole he was knocked into when a vehicle crashed into construction equipment in Anaheim, authorities said.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Ball Road and State College Boulevard about 10:30 p.m. Monday when the vehicle hit the equipment, including a backhoe, sending the worker into the hole, according to Sgt. Lou Correa of the Anaheim Police Department.

Anaheim Domino Type Accident sends pedestrian into 15 foot hole! Car crashes into construction equipment at the intersection of Ball rd & State College then equipment pushed a worker into the open hole at the site He was reduced taken to hospital. @KCBSKCALDesk pic.twitter.com/tjoA27MVti

— stu mundel (@Stu_Mundel) July 30, 2019

The victim was rescued by Anaheim Fire & Rescue crews and taken to a hospital, where he was reported responsive and not seriously hurt, Correa said.

The driver was detained and the cause of the crash was under investigation, Correa said.

CBS2 reported the driver attempted to leave the scene, but was quickly taken into custody.

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22 people injured in Central California military base tent collapse

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT — Authorities say 22 people have been injured in a tent collapse at a Central California military base.

Spokeswoman Amy Phillips at Fort Hunter Liggett says the wind from the rotors of a helicopter that was landing blew over the tent about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Phillips says there were 22 injuries, most of them minor. She says four people were taken to hospitals. Earlier reports said up to 30 people were injured.

Fort Hunter Liggett is in Monterey County, about 170 miles south of San Francisco. The sprawling base is the largest U.S. Army Reserve Command post.

It’s currently holding an annual training exercise for thousands of Army, Navy, Air Force, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Canadian Armed Forces troops.

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Reported explosion and stampede at London subway station

LONDON — London police and ambulances descended upon a subway station Friday after a reported explosion on a train standing at the platform, and a witness said commuters stampeded down the stairs to escape.

A commuter whose train was stopped at Parsons Green station says there was panic after a woman saw what appeared to be an explosion. A photo taken at the scene showed what appeared to be a burning pail inside a train. The commuter, Richard Aylmer-Hall, said he saw several people injured, apparently trampled as they fled.

“There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off,” he said. “Some people got pushed over and trampled on, I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews.”

The ambulance service said multiple crews had been dispatched to the above-ground station.

London’s Metropolitan Police and ambulance services confirmed “an incident” at the Parsons Green subway station in the southwest of the capital. The underground operator said services have been cut along the line.

The incident comes as tensions are high in London, which has been struck repeatedly by extremist attacks this year.

In this image made from video, fire raises at a southwest London subway station in London Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. London's Metropolitan Police and ambulance services are confirming they are at the scene of "an incident" at the Parsons Green subway station in the southwest of the capital. The underground operator said services have been cut along the line. (@RRIGS via AP)
In this image made from video, fire raises at a southwest London subway station in London Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. London’s Metropolitan Police and ambulance services are confirming they are at the scene of “an incident” at the Parsons Green subway station in the southwest of the capital. The underground operator said services have been cut along the line. (@RRIGS via AP)

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