TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The casino company said its shuttle boat that caught fire off Florida’s Gulf Coast never had any previous problems.
Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise spokeswoman Beth Fifer said Monday that the company “was deeply saddened” by the death of a 42-year-old woman who was a passenger on the boat when it caught fire off Port Richey on Sunday. She said there had never been any issues with the boat, which was destroyed by the fast-moving fire.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point spokesman Kurt Conover said Monday the passenger died late Sunday, hours after the 4 p.m. fire. He said she had arrived at the hospital less than an hour earlier after becoming ill.
Officials originally had said no injuries were life threatening. Fifteen passengers had experienced chest pain, smoke inhalation and other injuries.
The shuttle boat routinely carries people back and forth from the Tropical Breeze’s offshore casino. It is located offshore because it can’t legally operate close to land.
The Coast Guard is investigating the fire.