1 woman dead after casino boat catches fire off Florida coast

TERENCE CULLEN

At least one person has died from the fast-moving fire that tore through a casino boat off of Florida’s Gulf Coast, an official said Monday.

The female passenger died late Sunday, having been admitted hours after the vessel went ablaze, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point spokesman Kurt Conover said.

Neither the woman’s identity nor her cause of death were immediately available.

Conover told The Associated Press the woman was admitted less than an hour after she became sick.

The boat went ablaze after 4:00 p.m. Sunday as the vessel cruised off Florida’s western coast.

Some 50 people had to jump into the cold water, officials said Sunday, and emerged near Port Richey — about 40 miles northwest of Tampa.

Authorities initially said all 15 people admitted to the hospital had non-life-threatening injuries.

The vessel shuttles people to and from the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise, a gambling ship operating far from the shore because of gaming laws.

Coast Guard investigators will look into Tropical Breeze Casino as well as the boat’s history, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse said Monday.

They’re also looking into what may have sparked the blaze.

With News Wire Services

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