Good Samaritan describes scene of deadly boat fire

Bob Hansen speaks to "GMA" about the incident off of California's Santa Cruz Island as rescuers continue to search for survivors.
2:47 | 09/03/19

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Transcript for Good Samaritan describes scene of deadly boat fire
We're joined by Bob Hansen who helped rescue the survivors. Thank you for joining us this morning. I know you were out on a boat out on the water. When did you first know that something had gone terribly wrong? About 3:30 in the morning my wife and I woke up to somebody pounding on the side of the boat so I put on a pair of shorts, walked through my salon and as I opened the door there were five men in an inflatable at the back of my boat, and at that time I looked and I could see a large boat on fire, probably about 400 yards from me. Were they able to explain to you what had happened? Well, they said that the -- they had woken up to fire on board. They had actually woken the captain up and sounds like the captain tried to make a mayday call but the fire was so intense they ended up jumping off the boat and he said they swam around to the back of the boat where they had a tender or dinghy tied up and motored over to our boat which like I say wasn't far away. Did they tell you, had they made any effort to try to save the passengers. So, when they opened the galley door which was the main exit for those people sleeping down below, they said there were so much fire in there that even the roof tiles were on fire and falling from the ceiling already inside that galley so there was no access for them to get into the 34 guests that were below. Such a horrific scene but two of the survivors did try to go back to the boat? Yeah, we hailed the coast guard and we were instructed to, you know, asked what I should do and they wanted me to just stay where I was and have the two of the crew members get back in their dinghy with a flashlight and go out to see if they could find any survivors that were out, had maybe gotten off and were in the water. Had you ever seen anything like this out on the water? Oh, never. No. Nothing like this. This was -- it was horrendous. That boat was 75 feet long and as soon as I saw it, you know, as soon as I opened the door it was totally engulfed in flames all the way from the bow of the stern, flames could have been 30 feet high. I mean, it was -- there wasn't a spot on that boat that wasn't burning. Bob Hansen, thanks for telling your story and thanks for helping to save those survivors. It just was a horrific thing. One of those things I'll never forget. It happened so fast. The way he described it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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