Hundreds Rescued From Ferry Near Puerto Rico After Fire Breaks Out

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The U.S. Coast Guard rescued hundreds of people aboard a passenger ferry that caught fire off Puerto Rico on Wednesday, officials said.

The Coast Guard and local police took most of the 512 passengers and crew from the American Cruise Ferries vessel that was burning about two miles off of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Some 50 people remained on the 561-foot-long boat and awaited rescue by about 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT), the Coast Guard said. Rescued passengers were being transported to San Juan. The vessel was en route to the Dominican Republic.

No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.

The fire, which was reported at about 7:40 a.m. EDT, “began in the engine room of the ship and is spreading to other compartments on board,” the Coast Guard said.

Smoke billowed from several parts of the large white ferry as an inflatable orange rescue slide was activated, images posted by Puerto Rico police on social media showed.

American Cruise Ferries takes tourists from San Juan to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, according to the travel company’s website.

Coast Guard officials could not immediately be reached for further comment.

SOURCE: Reuters, Laila Kearney