News sources are reporting that the Caribbean Fantasy ferry has caught fire after sailing from the Dominican Republic to San Juan, forcing passengers to evacuate the vessel.
The fire reportedly broke out as the Caribbean Fantasy sailed near Puerto Rico’s north coast, according to the Mirror.
Photographs posted on social media show show the black smoke coming out of the ferry which is operated by the American Cruise Ferries.
Emergency slides can also be seen in the photos leading from the ferry down to the water and an inflatable life boat. It remains unclear how many of the over 500 passengers on the ferry went into lifeboats.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the ferry is reported to have run aground 800 yards off Punta Salinas.
Update: NBC News reports that "Gyno Funes said he was one of two mechanics in the control room when a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught on fire. ‘We were trying to extinguish it for two hours, but couldn’t,’ said the other mechanic, Marlon Doblado, after the two reached shore. The extent of injuries was not immediately clear. Several dozen people who were carried in on stretchers were being treated for dehydration, high blood pressure and respiratory problems from the smoke, said fire department spokesman Juan Vega."
August 19 2016 Update: Caribbean Fantasy Detained in 2015 Over Fire Prevention Violation.
September 14 2016 Update: Caribbean Business: Suit: Ferry that caught Fire off San Juan had numerous deficiencies. "Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard found at least 107 security deficiencies, of which 44 were related to the fire system used by Caribbean Fantasy, the ferry whose engine caught fire . . . Meanwhile, Caribbean Business received a photo from a source claiming that the vessel’s chief engineer and the oiler suffered severe burns during the accident. The photo purportedly showed the engineer with severe burns. However, the Coast Guard, through its spokesman, Ricardo Castrodad, said American Cruise Ferries did not inform them of anyone suffering burns."
Video credit: Mirror.
Photo credit: @PRPDNoticias/twitter via Mirror.