Port Richey casino boat business could resume this week

By Sarah Blazonis, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 5:57 PM EST

The business whose casino shuttle boat caught fire in Port Richey Sunday is expected to resume service again, officials say.

According to a spokesperson for Tropical Breeze Casino, service could resume on the company’s casino boat by the end of the week.

The boat was the destination for 50 passengers who had to jump into the Gulf when their shuttle boat, the Island Lady, became engulfed in flames Sunday.

About 15 people were transported to area hospitals for treatment. Carrie Dempsey, 42, was the only passenger that died.  

Tropical Breeze Casino said in a statement that the Island Lady was built in 1994 and has been used by the company to carry passengers since 2015. According to the company, it carried thousands of people safely during that time.

The statement also said it was last inspected in March 2017, when its certificate of inspection was renewed by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said Tuesday its investigation is ongoing.

The investigation also continues into the death of passenger Carrie Dempsey, 42. Officials said she died at the hospital following the fire.

Bill Pellan, the director of investigations for the medical examiner’s office, said an autopsy was completed and cause of death is pending. The results of requested tests could take six to 10 weeks to come back.