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Crew Member Sues Owners Of The Conception Suggesting Dangerous Conditions Helped Lead To Tragedy

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  -- A Conception crew member is suing the owners of the ship after 34 people were killed in a fire on Labor Day.

According to the Pacific Coast Business Times, crew member Ryan Sims filed a civil suit last week claiming he was sleeping on the top deck of the boat, woke up to loud noises and says the fire trapped him and he had no choice but to jump.

Sims broke his leg following the jump.

CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Crystal Cruz says Sims was seen and heard on video screaming out in pain as paramedics moved his leg and put him in the back of an ambulance.

The lawsuit alleges the owners of Truth Aquatics didn't properly train him, didn't provide safety equipment, nor rules. The lawsuit also says the vessel operated with dangerous conditions present lacking adequate emergency evacuation plans.

34 Unaccounted For After Boat Fire Off Ventura Co. Coastline
"Conception," a charter dive boat, burns off Santa Cruz Island, near the coast of Ventura County. Sept. 2, 2019. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Last week, the Conception dive boat was raised from the bottom of the ocean to help continue the investigation into what exactly started the fire.

Investigators are looking at a cellphone and camera charging station but haven't released a cause so far.

Related Link: Dive Boat Owner Seeks To Limit Payouts To Victims' Families Days After Fatal Fire

Christopher A. Hart, the NTSB chairman recently spoke to CNN about findings in their preliminary report.

Conception dive boat fire Santa Barbara
The burned out wreckage of the"Conception" on Sept. 12, 2019, at Port Hueneme, Calif. The dive boat caught fire off the Santa Barbara coastline on Sept. 2 and sank, killing 34 people aboard. (CBS2)

"Well, what we can say, of the five crew members that did survive, apparently none of them were awake. As far as the passengers and the one crew member who perished, we don't really know what they were doing," he said.

Hart also said another important requirement didn't appear to be applied.

"Part of the certificate for this vessel required that there be a constantly roving watch person to keep and eye on the safety of this vessel and the interviews to this point have indicated that did not transpire," Hart says.

Cruz tried reaching the attorney for Truth Aquatics and did not hear back.

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