NewsLocal NewsSan Diego News


Arraigned: Navy sailor accused of starting fire on USS Bonhomme Richard

Posted at 11:45 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 14:45:11-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A U.S. Navy sailor has been arraigned and formally charged in connection with a fire that was started on a warship during Summer 2020.

Ryan Mays is being charged with hazarding a vessel and aggravated arson for allegedly starting the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Even though cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, ABC 10News reporters could listen in on the proceedings.

When given an opportunity to enter a plea through his attorney, Mays chose not to. Mays is a Seaman Apprentice who was a member of the crew aboard the Navy Warship at the time of the fire.

Navy Prosecutors suggest Mays started the fire because he was disgruntled after dropping out of Navy Seal training. But Defense Lawyers say there is no physical evidence connecting him to the fire.

It took more than four days to knock down the flames on board the USS Bonhomme Richard. For several days, smoke could be seen from a distance coming from the ship. More than 60 people including Sailors and Firefighters were treated for injuries like smoke inhalation.

After a thorough and lengthy investigation, it was also revealed a series of missteps by both crew and command in how they tackled the fire after it began.

Officials summarized their report lying out problems from how the material condition of the ship left it unnecessarily vulnerable to fire and impeded firefighting efforts. How the ship’s crew’s training and readiness were deficient and described they were “unprepared” to respond.