On Sunday afternoon, a shuttle boat carrying people to the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise caught fire off Florida’s Gulf Coast, forcing about 50 passengers and crew members to abandon ship for the cold, shallow waters.
Port Richey police said 15 people were injured as a result of the fire, with at least eight people having been treated for minor injuries at the Regional Medical Center for Bayonet’s Point and released.
A 42-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, died hours after the incident, shortly after arriving at the hospital’s emergency room. She had apparently gone home after the fire but became ill later that night, according to officials.
Port Richey Police Chief Gerard DeCanio told the Associated Press
that the shuttle boat had experienced engine problems after leaving the dock at Port Richey. As the vessel turned back, however, the fire reportedly kicked up and those aboard the ship began to go overboard, according to the witness accounts.