A casino shuttle boat caught fire on Sunday in a waterway off the west coast of Florida, leaving one person dead and 14 others injured.

Fifty people were on board the Sun Cruz Casino boat shuttle Sunday afternoon, when the fire erupted as it sailed along Port Richey Canal, according to WFLA-TV.

The San Cruz Casino boat had just set off Sunday afternoon, and was sailing along the Port Richey Canal towards the Tropical Breeze Casino cruise boat, when a fire started in the engine room and soon engulfed the entire boat. 


The captain drove the boat and got it as close to land as possible so that the passengers on board could jump and swim to shore.


About 50 passengers swam to the beach where they were treated by emergency crews.


One woman died late on Sunday shortly after arriving at the hospital emergency room. She had apparently gone home after the fire but fell ill.

Port Richey police said 15 people were injured in the fire, with eight treated at the hospital and subsequently released.


Passengers evacuated to hospital were experiencing smoke inhalation and chest tightening, according to ABC News

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

Pasco County Sheriff's Office told CBS News that the fire took place as the boat was 100 feet offshore. 


Investigators said that at one point there were more than 40 people in the water after the boat had caught fire. 

All of the passengers in the water were pulled out and treated by emergency crews. 

The fire erupted on one of the coldest days of the year in the Tampa area.

Temperatures in the afternoon fell to as low as 43 degrees. 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. 


The fire continued to devour the boat hours after it initially erupted.

Read more: Daily Mail

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