LaPine couple, cats survive ocean boat blast

Credit: KTVZ Bend

LaPine couple, cats survive ocean boat blast

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 15 at 6:02 AM

LAPINE, Ore. -- A LaPine couple survived an explosion that sank their tuna boat off the Oregon Coast  along with a catch worth $40,000.

Mark and Cynthia Schneider are commercial fishers who sell tuna to New Seasons Market. Last Monday, they were 80 miles off the coast when disaster struck.

The engine backfired once, then several more times, black smoke billowing, before an explosion tore apart the side of the boat, according to a story first reported by KTVZ of Bend.

The two put on survival suits as the Sea Princess began to sink. As they bobbed in the waves, they could only think of their cats Jasper and Topaz left onboard.

Amazingly, the felines were able to swim free, Topaz found its way past totes and Jasper clung to the bow until the boat vanished beneath the waves. Minutes later, a nearby boat grabbed the couple and the cats.

The Schneiders plan to replace the boat and continue their summer passion of three decades.

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