Navy rescues couple, dogs after months adrift at sea

by Garry Watts October 28, 2017, 0:35
Navy rescues couple, dogs after months adrift at sea

Jennifer Appel, and Tasha Fujaba from Honolulu were sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti with their dogs when they lost their engine.

Shortly into their voyage, they lost the use of their engine and chose to carry on by sail towards landfall. They were rescued on Wednesday in the western Pacific 900 miles southeast of Japan - almost 5,000 miles from their intended destination.

"Thank God we've been rescued", Jennifer Appel, 48, told reporters in a teleconference arranged aboard a Navy ship. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief".

"It was the most unbelievable feeling because we honestly did not believe that we would survive another 24 hours in the current situation", Appel added.

"And both of them - we actually thought it was lights out", Appel said, "and they were horrific". They will stay with the Ashland until it makes its next port-of-call.

Appel said they survived because they had water purifiers and more than a year's worth of food - primarily oatmeal, pasta and rice.

The fishermen alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, and on Wednesday, the USS Ashland, a warship operating out of Sasebo, Japan, tracked them down and dispatched the rescue boat.

Two months into their ordeal, the women began to send distress calls and continued the action each day since.

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"It was very depressing, and it was very hopeless", she said.

"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", Appel said.

"I'm grateful for their service to our country", Appel later said.

"The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation", the Navy quoted the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr.

Joyce Appel, 75, who lives in Houston, said she got a call from her daughter early Thursday morning more than 5 months after they had last spoke.

Appel and Fujaba had been lost at sea since 30 May. "The only thing you can do, you use what you can and what you have".

Appel, Fuiava, Zeus and Valentine are safe with the US Navy.


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