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One dead, 50 rescued from Gulf Coast casino boat fire
February 21 2018, 05:39 | Irvin Gilbert
A casino shuttle boat caught fire on Sunday in a waterway off the west coast of Florida leaving one person reportedly missing
The casino boat was headed towards global waters after it embarked from port in Pasco County, just north of Tampa.
Police and fire officials in Port Richey, Florida say a casino shuttle boat operator likely saved lives by steering the vessel close to shore as a fire broke out on Sunday.
"All passengers were able to make it to shore where EMS treated them", according to a statement from the sheriff's office.
CNN reported that at least 15 people were injured then reduced that number to 12. Her name has not been released and a cause of death has not been determined.
The 60-foot boat was headed to a Sun Cruz Casino boat, located three miles from the coast in worldwide waters for legal gambling. Everyone on board jumped off the boat and into the water.
"At the end of the day, everyone's cold, everyone's wet, but everyone's safe", Port Richey Police Department Detective Angel Russo added.
"He went back in the water several times and helped other people get out because people got stuck in the mud, some people were crawling trying to get to shore", said Shelia McAfee said.
Tropical Breeze Casino says the shuttle boat that caught fire started having engine problems after leaving the dock, but an official cause is under investigation.
A Coast Guard spokesman said investigators are interviewing the captain, crew and passengers, as well as making sure inspections and paperwork are up to date along with all required licenses.
A female passenger on a casino shuttle boat that was consumed by a huge fire off Florida's Gulf Coast has died.
About 30 evacuated passengers took shelter in the home of nearby resident Larry Santangelo, who told the Tampa Bay Times he sees the boat pass by his home daily. "The whole neighborhood [was] communicating and going back to our houses to get whatever they need like water or clothes like socks".