One woman dead after casino boat catches fire off Florida coast
At least one person has died from the fast-moving fire that tore through a casino boat off of Florida’s Gulf Coast, forcing dozens to flee into the chilly waters, an official said Monday.
The female passenger died late Sunday, having been admitted less than an hour after she became sick, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point spokesman Kurt Conover said.
Neither the 42-year-old woman’s identity nor the cause of death were immediately available.
She’s was one of about 50 people forced to jump off the casino boat and later rescued on the shores near Port Richey.
They emerged from the chilled waters in Port Richey, located about 40 miles northwest of Tampa.
Authorities said Sunday that 15 people were sent to the hospital, all of whom initially had non-life-threatening injuries.
The inferno sent about 50 people into the water.
Investigators are looking into what caused the boat to set fire.
It was used to shuttle people to and from the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise, a gabling ship operating far from the shore because of gaming laws.
The Coast Guard plans to look into the shuttle boat’s history as well as the casino’s operations, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse said Monday.
But casino spokeswoman Beth Fifer said Monday the boat never had any problems before the overwhelming blaze broke out.
She said Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise was “deeply saddened” by the woman’s death.
With News Wire Services