Puerto Rico

Passengers on burning ship near Puerto Rico recall ordeal

Maria Prensa was packing her belongings as the Caribbean Fantasy ferry prepared to dock in Puerto Rico after a calm, overnight trip from the Dominican Republic.

Suddenly, she smelled smoke. "I asked, and they told me it was nothing, that it was under control," the 64-year-old Dominican said.

An hour later, she found herself tumbling down an emergency slide with helicopters whirring overhead, one of more than 500 passengers and crew members who had to abandon the burning ship Wednesday about a mile off Puerto Rico's north coast. U.S. Coast Guard boats carried them into San Juan's harbor with help from other agencies and even private vessels.

"It was like...