Woman Dead After Casino Boat Catches Fire Off Florida

Burning Sun Cruz Casino shuttle via New Port Richey Police

A boat shuttling some 50 passengers to a casino ship caught fire north of Tampa, Florida, on Sunday.

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. ET.

A passenger on a casino shuttle boat that was consumed by a huge fire off Florida's Gulf Coast has died. A video he posted to YouTube, shot from his home, showed thick plumes of smoke and sudden flames that quickly engulfed the boat.

"It was really hard to watch but we were glad they were close to shore and our whole neighborhood came together to pass blankets and whatever care they needed", Bakr Jandali of Port Richey told CNN.

"It smelled like an electrical fire, and then the crew came on and they started saying they were having engine issues, told us we needed to move up to the upper deck", said Darrell McAfee.

She says the mud was deep and silty, and people were starting to panic.

"They were absolutely frigid when they got out of there", Fossa said. Fifteen of them were treated at hospitals for minor injuries and as a precaution for hypothermia, police said.

DeCanio credited the captain's quick thinking which he believes prevented a major tragedy.

Everyone on board jumped off the boat and into the water.

Wet but uninjured passengers were transported from the scene by a Pasco County bus.

Authorities said everyone on board survived.

Another witness told the Tampa Bay Times the shuttle boat passes regularly by his family's home, carrying patrons to and from a casino ship offshore.

"They do go through their drills so they know exactly what to do in a situation like this", he said. Behind them, the boat was destroyed by the fire.

It was just 100 feet from the shore, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported.

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