Shocking news surfaced yesterday as a ferry boat carrying passengers to a casino ship off the Florida Gulf Coast was engulfed in flames. The boat was carrying 50 passengers and all 50 jumped off the boat into the cold winter waters. An investigation says that the shuttle boat caught fire at around 4pm ET on Sunday.
The Coast Guard has confirmed that all 50 made it to shore safely, out of which 15 were rushed to hospital and treated for minor injuries and for hypothermia precaution. The shuttle boat was on its way to the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise near Port Richey when this incident took place.
According to Port Richey Police, there is no suspicion of foul play. The captain of the 60-feet shuttle boat turned the boat around after seeing smoke coming from the engine and asked the passengers to jump off the boat and swim to shore. He was complaining about engine issues before Sunday as well.
The Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise operates in the Gulf of Mexico as Florida doesn’t permit land casinos and these shuttle boats are needed to ferry customers to and from the casino. NBC news has reported that this was the first such incident since the shuttle began operating way back in 1995.
UPDATE (16th Jan): Authorities have confirmed that one woman has succumbed to injuries and died.
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