Two Women, Dogs Rescued After 5 Months Stranded at Sea

Beth Cruz
October 31, 2017

A U.S. Navy ship carrying two sailors it rescued from their storm-battered sailboat in the Pacific docked Monday at an American naval base in Japan.

A pair of women from Hawaii meant to sail for Tahiti but bad weather and technical problems left them adrift at sea for months, sometimes among sharks.

The USS Ashland picked up Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava after a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted their crippled boat on Tuesday.

Ashland sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were accompanying two Honolulu women who were rescued after being lost at sea for several months while trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti.

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Joyce Appel, 75, who lives in Houston, said she got a call from her daughter early on Thursday, more than five months after they had last spoke.

Ms Appel departed on May 3 but lost her phone overboard on the first day at sea, according to her mother.

The ship's mast was also damaged, compromising the structural integrity, and limiting the Sea Nymph's capabilities to maneuver, Appel said in the call, obtained through CNN affiliate KHNL/KGMB. "They saved our lives", said Appel, according to a statement from the Navy. "I knew she didn't even know the phone number here", she said.


"We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught".

Appel and Fuiava were able to survive the five months of being stranded, thanks to water purifiers and a year's worth of food they packed before sailing ― mostly dry goods like oatmeal, pasta and rice. Appel said after their rescue that she'd sent out a distress call daily for 98 days without response. They were found thousands of miles off course after a series of troubles.

Currently, the sailboat is adrift, but Appel and Fuiava hope another ship finds it and it can be repaired.

The Navy is always ready to "assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation", said the Ashland's top officer Cmdr. "So she had several problems that caused her to end up drifting in the ocean", the elder Appel said.

Their sailboat was deemed unseaworthy and is now drifting out at sea, KHON reported. They will remain aboard the Ashland until the ship's next port of call. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief", said Appel.

"I had hope all along, she is very resourceful and she's curious and as things break she tries to fix them, she doesn't sit and wait for the repairman to get there, so I knew the same thing would be true of the boat".

"There's different sunrises and sunsets every day", Fuiava said.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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