Two Stranded Sailors and Their Dogs Were Rescued After Five Months in Shark-Filled Waters
What was supposed to be a boat trip to Tahiti for sailors Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava turned into an ordeal of nearly five months spent adrift in the Pacific. But the two survived to tell the tale. They were finally rescued by the United States Navy on Wednesday, October 25, along with their two dogs, Gizmodo reports.
Appel and Fuiava—who are both from Hawaii—left Honolulu for Tahiti on May 3, a journey of more than 2700 miles as the crow flies. Shortly after launch, rough weather caused their engine to fail, but the two women decided to continue the trip by sailing. At some point, the vessel lost a mast, and the two couldn't call for help, as their phone had fallen overboard. After around two months at sea, the sailors began sending out futile distress calls while subsisting on a year's supply of dry food stored on their boat.
Sharks attacked the weakened vessel at night. It was "very depressing, and it was very hopeless," Appel told media outlets after her rescue, according to Gizmodo.
Luckily, a Taiwanese fishing vessel eventually spotted their boat as it drifted about 900 miles southeast of Japan, and its sailors contacted the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam. Navy ship USS Ashland arrived the next morning, and crew brought Appel, Fuiava, and their furry friends on board.
Appel and Fuiava received food and medical care, and will remain on board until the Ashland's next port of call.
"They saved our lives," Appel said in a statement. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the navy] on the horizon was pure relief."
Watch a video of their rescue below: