Grape Escape fishing boat comes to the rescue of Conception crew following dive boat fire

Madera couple brings injured crew to dock

Grape Escape comes to the rescue of Conception crew members

OXNARD, Calif. - The owners of the Grape Escape sport fishing boat are being called heroes by their dock neighbors in the Channel Islands Harbor. 

Bob and Shirley Hansen anchored their Hattteras yacht at Platts Harbor on the north side of Santa Cruz Island for the first time when they heard knocking before 3:30 a.m.

The knocking turned out to be crew members thrown overboard when their Conception dive boat out of Santa Barbara caught fire.

The couple from Madera, California gave them flashlights to search for survivors in the water as the fire burned.

Their captain decided to stay and help first responders when the U.S. Coast Guard arrived.

They helped four crew members climb on board and gave them clothes to wear including Grape Escape crew shirts they had made for the fishing trips.

The Hansens tried to comfort one the crew members with a broken leg. But Bob Hansen said they made sure he didn't drink water in case he needed to go right into surgery that often requires fasting.

The young man was in distress when they arrived at the U.S.Coast Guard dock in Oxnard.  Paramedics went aboard and put him on a strecher and rushed him to the local trauma hospital.

The Hansens were eventurally allowed to return to their main channel dock near the Channel Islands Harbor bridge.

Hansen said he bought his dream fishing boat about about a decade ago after his wife survived brain cancer.

It was something they always wanted to do.  They had been celebrating Labor Day weekend with family at the Island when they came to the rescue of the crew.

Shirley Hansen said they helped them contact their family members and learned of the heartbreak.

She said one of the missing divers was celebrating her 17th birthday with her parents.

She said she wished they could have saved more. Bob Hansen said his boat could have held dozens of people,  but the flames were just too high.

The boat sank.  TowBoat US Capt. Paul Amaral had hoped to tow the boat to shore. Instead he helped with the recovery.


Watch the Tuesday 10 a.m. press conference:

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