Shrimp boat burns in Houston Ship Channel

Two people rescued by good Samaritans

GALVESTON, Texas - Two people were rescued from a shrimp boat burning out of control in the Houston Ship Channel.

The shrimpers, Earl Branch and Cliff Dunn, were rescued by two Good Samaritans before the United States Coast Guard arrived to the boat fire that was that was reported around 10 a.m. on Friday.

The Coast Guard said the men's shrimp boat caught fire just north of the South Galveston jetty.

"I got up there as fast as I could. It was amazing how fast it went up. We got to the front and two guys were hanging off the front waving. We pulled up and they jumped on our boat," said Beau Jones, one of the men who are credited with rescuing the shrimpers. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Manta responded along with a boat crew from Station Galveston that was launched to assist.

"We got on the boat with the men (who rescued us) and watched my boat burn," said Dunn, about the Good Samaritans that took the two men to safety.

"One guy jumped in and one guy tried to climb in and he almost fell into the water. I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled in to the boat and sped off to the other direction," said Jake Whitenburg, the other Samaritan that helped rescue the boat.

Plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky as the boat slowly began sinking in to the water. The tugboat Lamar arrived at 11:16 a.m. and extinguished the fire, then pushed the vessel to the seawall.

Local 2 learned that the shrimpers were from the Hillman's Seafood Market in Dickinson.

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