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50 people dive into water after casino shuttle catches fire

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50 people dive into water after casino shuttle catches fire

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Fifty people jumped more than 10 feet into frigid winter waters after the shuttle ferrying them to a casino ship off the Florida Gulf Coast caught fire Sunday, authorities said.

All 50 people made it safely to shore, the Coast Guard, which is leading the investigation, told NBC News on Sunday night. Fifteen of them were treated at hospitals for minor injuries and as a precaution for hypothermia, police said.

Image: Casino shuttle fire in Florida
A boat burns Sunday after it caught fire while ferrying patrons to a casino ship off the Florida Gulf Coast. AP

The shuttle caught fire at about 3:30 p.m. ET as it was making its way to the Tropical Breeze Casino Cruise, said Beth Fifer, the casino's assistant chief executive.

Port Richey Police Chief Gerard DeCanio said the captain saw smoke from the engine and turned the boat around. Then he started having engine trouble, said DeCanio, who said the captain had been reporting engine trouble before Sunday.

DeCanio said there was no suspicion of foul play.

Fifer told NBC News it was the first such incident since the shuttle began operating in 1995. Shuttles are needed to ferry customers to the casino, operates in the Gulf of Mexico, because it's not allowed on land in Florida.