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Tuna Boat Explosion Survived By Couple And Two Cats

The engine of an 18 meter U.S. tuna boat, Sea Princess, exploded just over 120 kilometers off the coast of Winchester Bay, Oregon, forcing owners Mark and Cynthia Schneider to jump into the ocean. The boat was almost 90 years old.

The 90 year old US tuna boat Sea Princess sinking

After fishing for albacore tuna together for 27 years, the Schneider’s lost their boat, USD 40,000 worth of albacore and most of their possessions when the engine backfired several times before a blast that tore off the side of the boat.

As water began to pour in, the Schneider’s explained they felt they had no choice but to jump into the surrounding sea. Both of them suffered flash burns to their faces but did not require hospital treatment.

Also surviving the explosion were their two cats who managed to cling onto the bow of the boat and stay above the water. Mark and Cynthia said they were stunned after being rescued by a nearby boat to look out to the sinking Sea Princess and see the cats. “They’ve got pretty good survival instincts,” Mark Schneider said.

The couple said they had no choice but to leave the cats, Jasper and Topaz behind on the boat as they thought about their own survival. They spent 15 to 20 minutes in the water before they were rescued by their friend and fishing partner Rick Goche.

A few years ago the Schneider’s decided to upgrade their old boat to the larger Sea Princess, a wooden boat that was built in 1924 that provided more stability in choppy seas and had more storage capacity. “It was a fixer-upper that took a lot of time and money to repair,” Schneider said. They are now trying to figure out their next move from their onshore home of Central Oregon.