Florida casino boat catches fire near New Port Richey

Kristen Gonzales
January 16, 2018

The casino shuttle caught on fire with 50 people on board. But it was like anyway it goes, you got to take a chance.

Fifteen passengers had to be taken to the hospital.

"All of us, my family and the neighbors, brought them towels and water", Jandali said.

"I thought my house was on fire", the Huntington native said.

The woman's cause of death or information about her injuries weren't immediately known.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed big flames coming off the vessel and passengers swimming in the water.

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Passengers jumped into the water to escape the fire, which spread quickly after breaking out about a half mile from shore. Behind them, the boat was destroyed by the fire. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital's emergency room.

We're still working to find out what caused this boat fire.

A Coast Guard spokesman said investigators are interviewing the captain, crew and passengers, as well as making sure inspections and paperwork are up to date along with all required licenses.

The area is about 40 miles north of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The bus burst into flames at around 3:30 p.m. ET as it was advancing toward the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise, as indicated by Beth Fifer, the gambling club's right hand CEO.

"There were a lot of "thank yous" and appreciation that a lot of people came together" to help them, said Santangelo, who also owns the Rock Solid Stone Centers landscape supply company in Florida. No one from the business would speak to FOX 13 in person or on camera. Then he started having engine trouble, said DeCanio, who said the captain had been reporting engine trouble before Sunday.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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