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Fire engulfs casino shuttle boat off Florida coast, 15 injured

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At least 15 people were injured when a fire engulfed a boat off the coast of Florida on Sunday, causing the 50 people aboard to jump into the Gulf of Mexico and swim to shore, local officials said.

A preliminary investigation showed the fire broke out at about 4:17 p.m. EST from an apparent engine issue, said Shawn Whited, division chief with Pasco Fire Rescue.

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“The captain of the boat said there was an issue with the engine. He said he noticed smoke coming form the engine room and turned the boat around,” Whited said.

The 60-foot shuttle boat was on its way to the Sun Cruz Casino boat, a little more than three miles away in international waters. It had only made it about 100 yards from where it originated in Port Richey, about 30 miles north of downtown Tampa.

After seeing the smoke, the captain prompted the 50 people aboard the boat to abandon ship and swim to shore. Some of the injuries were from being in cold water and from smoke inhalation, said Whited.

The boat was “fully engulfed” in flames, said Dan Dede, a dispatch supervisor at Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Pasco Fire.

An official investigation will start soon, according to Whited. Several agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the City of Port Richey Fire Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, responded to the incident.

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By Renita D. Young

(Reporting by Renita D. Young; Editing by Nick Zieminski)


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‘We have them outnumbered’: Morning Joe explains why Trump’s ‘vile’ tweets don’t work on most people

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough explained why most Americans could not be dragged down to President Donald Trump's level, hurling angry attacks and ignoring scientific advice.

The "Morning Joe" host said the president's refusal to wear a mask and his murder allegations against him would fall flat with most Americans, because they didn't spend all day stoking their own anger on social media.

"Most Americans don't live in the gutters of Twitter," Scarborough said. "Most Americans don't live posting hateful things about people on Facebook. They talk about their loved ones, they talk about their faith in God, they talk about their children, their grandchildren. We have them outnumbered."

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BUSTED: Trump task force member’s senate campaign got a $2.5 million loan from bank he helped run

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Bill Hagerty, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan who is now a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Tennessee, has secured campaign funds from a number of people and corporate entities connected to the White House economic recovery council — of which he's a member.

Since September, the Hagerty campaign has pulled in $33,000 in campaign contributions from corporations and individuals on the task force. The campaign also took out a $2.5 million loan from Pinnacle Financial Partners on March 27, the same day that President Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

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Trump threatens to ‘close down’ social media companies if they don’t stop fact-checking his tweets

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to "close down" social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter if they didn't stop fact-checking his tweets about mail-in voting.

"Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices," the president wrote on Twitter. "We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen."

Trump's angry tirade was sparked when Twitter added a link at the end of one of the president's tweets that offered users additional facts about mail-in voting, which the president has falsely claimed is rife with fraud.

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