Captain Shull, single-handedly saves the Osprey One from fiery demise


The community of South Padre Island and the surrounding areas were in shock the night of Wednesday, February 23 as Pier 19 was engulfed in a fiery blaze. Amidst the chaos, a hero emerged from the carnage, single handedly rescuing the ginormous and well-known boat, the Osprey One, and captaining it to safety, while the pier was reduced to ashes.

Brandon Shull is and island local who runs three different boats, the Osprey Two, the Buccaneer, and the Bay King. He formerly captained the aforementioned Osprey One.

On the night of the fire, at 2:30 a.m., Shull was sound asleep when he was awoken by the news that Pier 19 was in flames. Captain Robby was on the other line, and he asked if Shull could assist in saving the boats that were at risk of a fiery demise. Shull rose to action, still in his pajamas, and raced towards the danger to ultimately rescue the Osprey One. According to Shull, he had no idea what he was in for. “I felt like it couldn’t have been that crazy of a fire. It is probably not that big of a deal,” Shull underestimated.

Passing by the island’s McDonalds, Shull caught his first glimpse at the intensity of the fire. “It was unbelievable to see it from that far,” he expressed. According to Shull, the flames were three to four stories high. “I knew everything was going to be destroyed,” recounted Shull.

Upon arriving on the scene, Shull spoke to an officer, as the street was blocked off by a fire hose. Shull explained he was a captain, and he was there to retrieve one of the boats and pull it to safety. The officer granted him access and he was approached by more officers as well as the fire department. They told Shull that ten minutes prior to his arrival there was a perfect window of opportunity for him to rescue the ship, as the dock was clear of flames. At this point, the dock was impassable, as it was completely engulfed.

Shull was the only captain present at this time, so there was no one who could escort him to the ship on their boat, and the clock was ticking as the fire grew, so waiting for the Coast Guard wasn’t an option.
He made the decision to swim.

Shull handed the officers his belongings, his phone, keys and sandals. An officer lent Shull a knife to cut the ropes. He griped the handle of the serrated blade between his teeth, climbed down some rocks and dove into the icy, rocky waters.

“The water was cold- really cold, but I didn’t feel it. I was more concerned with climbing on to a boat next to a fire,” described Shull.

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