More Than 500 People Evacuated From Cruise Ship Near Puerto Rico After Fire

Image courtesy of America Cruise Ferries

A ship fire aboard a combination ferry/cruise vessel off the coast Puerto Rico on Wednesday found the U.S. Coast Guard evacuating more than 500 passengers and crew from the ship.

The fire was still burning on the Caribbean Fantasy while the Coast Guard worked, the Associated Press reported. The ship was headed to harbor in San Juan when the fire broke out, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Another official said the fire started in the engine room and was spreading through the rest of the ship.

One of the two mechanics who was in the control room at the time said a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught fire.

“We were trying to extinguish it for two hours, but couldn’t,” the other added.

Injuries are still being sorted out, with several dozen people treated for dehydration, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems from the smoke, said a fire department spokesman.

Most of the passengers were Dominican — the ship makes several trips between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico each week — and included dozens of school athletes who were going to competitions in Puerto Rico. Passengers who didn’t need medical treatment were bused out of the area.

More than 500 evacuated in ship fire near Puerto Rico [Associated Press]

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