US Navy rescues sailors and their 2 dogs lost at sea for months

(ABC News) — Two civilian mariners were rescued at sea by a U.S. Navy ship after being stranded in the Pacific Ocean for almost five months.

The two mariners were well off course: They left Honolulu on their sailboat in the spring, bound for Tahiti, 2,600 miles away in the South Pacific, but were rescued in the western Pacific 900 miles southeast of Japan.

Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both from Honolulu, and their two dogs were rescued on Wednesday by the USS Ashland (LSD 48), an amphibious transport dock ship.

During a spell of bad weather on May 30, their sailboat’s engine stopped running for good. But the pair continued sailing toward Tahiti, believing they could make it to land.

Two months into their voyage, they began issuing daily distress radio calls. But there were no ships close enough to receive the messages.

On Tuesday a Taiwanese fishing vessel discovered the pair 900 miles from Japan, nearly 5,000 miles from their planned destination.

The vessel reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam for assistance, and it was determined that the Ashland was in the best position to pick up the stranded mariners.

The Ashland reached the sailboat Tuesday morning, and after the craft was assessed as unseaworthy, Appel and Fuiaba were taken aboard. They were given medical checkups, food and berthing arrangements on the ship because they will remain on the Ashland until its next port of call.

“I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the Navy] on the horizon was pure relief,” said Appel.

Appel said they survived for so long at sea thanks to the water purifiers on the sailboat and the year’s worth of food they had on board, including oatmeal, pasta and rice.

“The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation,” said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, the Ashland’s commanding officer.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s