SEADRIFT – One man with burns was airlifted Monday night to a hospital in Galveston after a boat caught fire in the Seadrift City Harbor.

His age and name were not available Tuesday morning, though he is about 30 years old and from the Galveston area, said Sgt. Mike Henry of the Seadrift Police Department.

The man was working on the engine of a 20-foot oystering vessel named “Shark” when the fire started.

Henry said the boat was fully engulfed in flames when he arrived on the scene about 9:20 p.m. The man’s hands were severely burned, and he had burns on his face and nose, Henry said.

“He was by himself at the time working on his boat, and somehow it ignited; I don’t know whether through a spark or heat, but it caught fire,” he said. “He jumped into the water, and other local oystermen helped him out.”

The boat sat afloat in the harbor Tuesday morning, burned black with a gaping hole on the right side and a mangled engine.

No nearby boats appeared to be damaged.

Henry said the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Seadrift Volunteer Fire Department, Calhoun County EMS and Texas General Land Office responded to the harbor to assist Seadrift police.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting its own investigation, though whether the incident is being investigated as an explosion or fire was not immediately clear, said an official with U.S. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.

No pollution was reported as a result of the incident, according to the Coast Guard’s initial report.

In November 2018, two men were hospitalized after a 28-foot aluminum oystering vessel exploded in the same harbor.

The boat exploded as they were getting ready to leave the harbor the day after oyster season opened, the Advocate reported.

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Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

I was born and raised in Houston, but spent many summers and weekends in the Crossroads while growing up. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, and feel lucky to cover a region I love dearly.

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