When New Yorkers board a commercial vessel, they expect it to be well-maintained and safe. However, that is not always the case. For example, a boat shuttle for a Florida casino caught fire on Jan. 14, forcing passengers to escape the flames by leaping into the cold water. One of the passengers later died.
According to New Port Richey authorities, the shuttle boat was ferrying 50 passengers to the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise when it began having engine problems. A fast-moving fire broke out, and the crew turned the boat around, running it aground near the shore. Videos of the incident showed passengers jumping into shallow water and making their way toward land. Low temperatures were around 38 degrees that day. The Coast Guard was called at approximately 4:20 p.m.
Fifteen passengers were transported to area hospitals for treatment of smoke inhalation and other non-life-threatening injuries. Later that day, a 42-year-old female passenger went to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point because she was not feeling well. She died shortly afterward. A spokesperson for Tropical Breeze Casino expressed sorrow over the victim's death and said that the shuttle boat had never experienced mechanical problems before. The accident remains under investigation.
Under premises liability law, business owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all visitors. If someone is injured or killed while patronizing a business property, the owner could be found liable for damages in court. By filing a premises liability lawsuit, victims may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and other related damages. Likewise, families of deceased victims could receive a financial settlement that covers funeral expenses and other amounts permitted by the state's wrongful death statute.
Source: NPR, "Woman Dies After Florida Boat Fire Sends Dozens Of Panicked Passengers Overboard", Amy Held, Jan. 15, 2018