1 Dead & 14 Others Injured in Casino Shuttle Boat Fire
50 individuals were traveling on a shuttle boat to a casino boat about a mile off of the coast of Florida when tragedy struck and the boat burst into flames. The fire burned the boat to its shell, leaving nothing but the hull. There is currently an investigation into the cause of the fire, which is thought to be an engine complication; however, no proof has been found as of yet.
While travelling, the ship’s captain reportedly realized the boat’s engine was having trouble. When the boat began to smoke and ultimately burst into flames, the captain made the decision to head back to land. This quick thinking helped the passengers be closer to the beachhead. Still, it wasn't enough to prevent the passengers from having to jump ship.
As some Florida residents attempted to evacuate the boat, others contemplated their options. One interviewed survivor said he never learned how to swim; however, as the boat fire became more uncontrollable, he realized that he only had one option for survival. He recalled his decision to jump into the water by saying: “I can stay on this boat and burn or take a chance, so I had to take a chance.”
The heroes of the story are three police officers of the Port Richey Police Department who were the first ones on scene. These brave men fought off the cold water and diesel spilling from the boat to rescue the passengers. The officers reported that some older citizens were found face down when they rescued them from the waters.
While all injured members of the boat made it to land, one mother of two passed away at the hospital. 14 other passengers were taken to hospitals for the serious chest pains they suffered due to smoke inhalation.