More than 500 passengers and crew evacuated from burning Caribbean Fantasy, a combination cruise and ferry ship, about a mile off Puerto Rico’s north coast Wednesday, though there were no reported fatalities or life-threatening injuries.
The burning ferry was abandoned to the flames after firefighters decided that continuing to fight the blaze was too risky.
The 561-foot-long (171-meter-long) ship, owned by America Cruise
Ferries, ran aground near a small island off San Juan and authorities said it was likely to sink.
“The fire reportedly began in the engine room of the ship and is spreading to other compartments on board,” the US Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Coast Guard said multiple air and surface craft were dispatched to rescue passengers, including a coast guard cutter.
The U.S. Coast Guard brought passengers to the shore. Other agencies also joined the rescue effort until fire forced them to abandon the ship. Although there were no fatalities, many required medical care.
Meanwhile, the stricken ship was towed to the Isla de Cabra where investigators were trying to figure out what sparked the fired.
The ship, which has a crew of 26, transports mostly Dominican passengers back and forth from San Juan to the Dominican Republic