Officials in Florida are saying that a shuttle boat used to transport passengers to a casino boat caught fire near Tampa Bay on Sunday, but luckily all 50 passengers on-board managed to escape.
According to New Port Richey Chief of Police Gerard Decanio, the SunCruz Port Richey Casino shuttle was near the shoreline around 4:17 p.m. when it encountered engine problems, prompting the crew to turn the boat around.
That’s when the shuttle boat reportedly became engulfed in flames.
The Pasco Sherriff’s marine, air and patrol units arrived on-scene alongside the New Port Richey Police Department.
Video provided by the New Port Richey Police Department shows the frightening scene as it unfolded.
According to Tampa Bay news outlet Bay News 9, passengers were reportedly forced to jump overboard to avoid the flames.
Fifteen people were reportedly taken to hospitals to receive treatment after the incident.
It is still unclear what may have caused the fire, according to authorities.
New Port Richey Chief of Police Gerard Decanio revealed that there were no life-threatening injuries from the incident, however, there were reports of chest pain and smoke inhalation, as reported by the New York Post.
WTVT reporter Kim Leoffler tweeted a video of a woman who was onboard the craft stating that she would never ride a boat again.
“Never again! No more boats!” the woman can be heard saying.
Sunday’s incident took place in the Port Richey canal about 26 miles northwest of Tampa Bay, according to The Miami Herald.
WTVT reported that the shuttle that caught fire is used to take passengers to and from the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise casino boat.
As of the writing of this article, Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise has yet to release a statement on the incident.
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