United States: One person dead after boat to offshore casino burns off Florida coast
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Beth Fifer, assistant chief executive of the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise, said that the fire started at about 3:30 PM, local time, as the boat was outbound to the casino. According to Gerard DeCanio, the police chief of, the captain saw smoke coming from the engine and turned back, then grounded the boat in shallow water.
The boat was rapidly engulfed in flames. Those aboard had to jump about ten feet into waist-high water and swim or wade ashore to safety. The police said that about fifteen were treated at local hospitals, including for possiblefrom exposure to the cold sea water. The one fatality, a 42-year-old woman, went to the emergency room at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point hours later and died at 10:42 p.m., according to Kurt Conover, a spokesman for the medical center and Kevin Doll, a spokesman for the .
Passenger Qaadia Culbreath toldthat he couldn't swim and didn't see any life jackets, so he found himself "dangling off the metal hanger in the front of the boat because I didn't want to let go". Andrew Fossa, deputy fire chief of , described locals who assisted the passengers as they scrambled to shore as "phenomenal".
According to police chief DeCanio, the boat captain had reported engine trouble on earlier trips. Fifer said, "It would've never left the dock if we knew something was wrong with it." Thehas announced that they will review maintenance records. The casino operates offshore, requiring a boat to ferry gamblers to and fro, because casino gambling is not legal in the state of Florida.
- Alex Johnson and Kalhan Rosenblatt. "Florida casino shuttle boat bursts into flames, leaving 1 dead" — , January 15, 2018
- John Bacon, Associated Press. "Fire, chaos and death on a Florida casino boat" — , January 15, 2018,
- "Deadly Florida casino boat fire" — , January 15, 2018 (Video)