2 dead dogs found on ferry that caught fire near Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) " Two missing pet dogs were found dead Friday aboard a large ferry that caught fire earlier this week and continues to burn off Puerto Rico's north coast.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Eric Woodall told The Associated Press that the bodies of a Chihuahua and an English bulldog were located aboard the Caribbean Fantasy. Their owners have been notified.

The agency expressed its condolences for the deaths.

"Many of us are also pet owners who love our animals and consider them part of our family," Coast Guard Capt. Robert Warren, incident commander of the response, said in a statement.

Authorities previously rescued five other pets after the ferry caught fire Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of more than 500 passengers and crew.

More than two dozen people were hospitalized, many for smoke inhalation, dehydration and shock, and two passengers underwent surgery for broken bones.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that crews will tow the grounded, 561-foot (171-meter) ship to the San Juan harbor on Saturday. Dive teams on Friday found no significant damage to the ship's hull, officials said.

So far, no sheening or contamination has been reported.

The ferry was traveling from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico when the fire broke out in the engine room.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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