West Virginia residents may have heard that a fire on a casino shuttle boat that was traveling off the coast of Florida left a woman dead. It was reported that all 50 passengers and crew fled the boat fire by jumping into water.
The boat had just left the dock in Port Richey, Florida, at about 4:20 p.m. when it began having engine problems. This resulted in flames and smoke billowing from the engine. The crew turned the boat around so that it would be closer to shore. Passengers jumped into the cold water, which was about 12 feet down. They were able to get themselves to shore. Port Richey residents assisted the passengers by bringing them towels and clean water.
Although it initially appeared that all 50 individuals made it to shore, a woman later went to the hospital after telling medical staff that she felt ill. She died later the same night. It was also noted that 14 others were hospitalized following the fire due to smoke inhalation and other non-life-threatening injuries. The investigation into what actually caused the fire was still ongoing.
West Virginia businesses and property owners are required to ensure that their premises are free from dangerous hazards. If a person suffers an injury as a result of such a hazard that the owner knew or should have known of and failed to correct, the owner could be held financially responsible for the victim’s losses under the theory of premises liability. An attorney could assist with the process of seeking compensation, either through a settlement with the owner’s insurer or through a lawsuit.
Source: NPR, “Woman Dies After Florida Boat Fire Sends Dozens Of Panicked Passengers Overboard“, Amy Held, Jan. 15, 2018