Casino Boat Catches Fire in Florida, 1 Reported Missing


The shuttle had embarked from Port Richey on an afternoon run to the Tropical Breeze, a casino boat anchored in the Gulf of Mexico outside the three-mile Florida state waters limit where gambling is legal.

Some passengers jumped ship and swam to shore before rescue crews arrived, Pasco County Fire officials said.

The injuries included smoke inhalation and chest pains, fire department Deputy Chief Andrew Fossa said.

The woman's name has not been released and her cause of death has not been determined, the spokesman said.

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Another 14 people were reportedly injured, with eight of them taken to the hospital where they were treated and released. A video he posted to YouTube, shot from his home, showed thick plumes of smoke and sudden flames that quickly engulfed the boat.

The capitan saw the engine smoking and turned around.

Officials originally had said no injuries were life threatening.

Jandali and other neighbors were some of the first to assist panicked passengers as they made their way onto shore.

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Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse said Monday that investigators will determine a cause for Sunday night's fire and will examine the history of the boat and the company, Tropical Breeze Casino. Concerned witnesses on shore can be heard shouting at the passengers, "Get out!"

Jandali's family called 911 and helped people wading to shore, through water 8 to 10 feet deep. "We are continuing our investigation of the boat fire", he said.

"The people were very cold and wet and scared, so it was a little hard to get all of them in but we managed", said Hashim. Local residents then offered them towels, socks and water to drink.

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