One missing after shuttle boat fire

Danny Woods
January 16, 2018

A casino shuttle boat caught fire Sunday afternoon in Port Richey, Florida, forcing dozens to evacuate - some into the frigid canal on the area's coldest day of the year, authorities said.

The shuttle boat regularly carries people back and forth from the Tropical Breeze's offshore casino, about a 45-minute ride into global waters.

Crews helped all 50 passengers make it to shore safety where medics treated them, the news station added. She had apparently gone home after the fire but fell ill. Cause of death is still undetermined.

Fifteen passengers lamenting about chest pain, smoke intake, and the rest small injuries were transported to the hospital to be examined, authorities said, appending that the injuries were minor and not at all hazardous to life.

The initial distress call reporting a fire was made at 4:17pm, according to WTSP-TV.

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The former Long Islander says when he saw the confused passengers coming out of the water he did what came natural to him. The temperature of the water at the time was about 59 degrees - which is cold enough to cause hypothermia if a human being stayed in the water long enough.

When the fire sparked, the captain of the boat beached it about 100 feet from shore. Pasco County Fire Rescue said it was taking people about a mile offshore.

Port Richey Police Chief Gerard DeCanio said the shuttle boat experienced engine problems after leaving the dock at Port Richey. There were multiple people in the water. "We rescued probably 12 to 15 people that were out in the water", including "a couple of seniors who were face down in the water".

"Once I realized they were soaking wet, every one of them, I ran upstairs and I started bringing down towels, blankets, clothes, socks - whatever I could grab out of my closet".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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