LAPINE, OR (KTVZ/CNN) – A couple lost their livelihood when their fishing boat sank but found some relief when their two cats emerged from the wreckage safely.
For the last 27 years, Mark and Cynthia Schneider have spent their summers at sea. They catch thousands of pounds of albacore tuna and sell it to Portland markets under their brand, Catch of the Sea.
Seven days into their fishing season, their boat Sea Princess began taking on water.
"The engine backfired once, and Cynthia went and looked and it's billowing black smoke, then it back fired again," Mark Schneider said. "This is all happening pretty rapidly. The third time it back fired it actually rocked the boat, and it was pretty loud. It wasn't very long and then we had the explosion."
They both managed to get clear but were afraid their traveling companions were gone along with their boat. Then they saw one, Topaz, come out and got her to swim to them.
The other, Jasper, nearly went down with the ship, standing on the bow as it slowly sank.
"Slowly it started sinking and it went right out from underneath him and it just disappeared and then he started swimming,' Mark Schneider said.
Reunited, the family was rescued by a ship minutes late. The Schneiders said they are thankful to be alive and collecting donations to replace their boat.