About 7:52 am on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, America Cruise Ferries' Caribbean Fantasy had a small fire, which broke out in the turbine compartment and spread to other sectors of the cruise ship. Caribbean Fantasy, a cruise ship ferry, had 485 passengers who were mostly Dominican aboard when she sailed from Santo Domingo Tuesday night. The fire broke out as Caribbean Fantasy approached the entrance of El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
While local Puerto Rico news sources report 387 passengers aboard, mainland U.S. news sources are reporting 485 passengers aboard with a crew of 26.
Passengers were removed from the cruise ship using evacuation slides. Numerous passengers were affected by smoke inhalation, nervous breakdown, hypertension, chest pains and dehydration, as a result of the fire. Reports say that 15 people were affected by smoke inhalation and were taken to the Medical Center in Río Piedras, including five children who were taken to the Children's Hospital.
Passengers included dozens of school-age athletes headed to competitions in Puerto Rico, including a 22-member cycling team, a girls' volleyball team and a boys' baseball team.
A field hospital was set up on the cruise ship dock at San Juan. Dr. Juan Nazario and Israel Ayala, directed the passenger medical needs. The Medical Emergency Corps of State activated about 50 paramedics and three doctors, according to Dr. Rosana Otaño, executive director of the Medical Emergency Corps State.
The evacuation was coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard which took passengers to San Juan using land emergency vehicles and helicopter.
Crew member mechanics Gyno Funes and Marlon Doblado, told news sources that they were in the control room when a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught on fire. The two crew tried to extinguish the fire for two hours, but couldn't.
Angel Crespo, director of Puerto Rico’s Emergency Management Agency summarized the rescue operation, "105 people were treated at the scene, mostly for heat stroke, shock and dehydration, and another 24 remained hospitalized. Among these were three women who dislocated their ankles and a man who broke his leg while going down the emergency slide." he said.
The USCG has reported that Caribbean Fantasy aground after passengers were evacuated.
We expect a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation to follow with the cause of the fire and recommendations. We will update when the official investigation report is available.
This is the 10th cruise ship fire so far in 2016. Other fires include Aqua Amazon, Black Watch, Floridian Star, Aphrodite, Estrella Amazonica, Emerald Belle Fire and two AIDAprima fires. These and more cruise ship fire cases are the on Cruise Ship Fires
You can track Caribbean Fantasy live with our
Live Cruise Ship Tracker
and see the Caribbean Fantasy cruise ship schedule is on our Cruise Line Schedules
This case is still unfolding, please check back.
Photos Credit: El Nuevodia