Animals

Women And Dogs Rescued After Five Months Lost In The Pacific Ocean

Their story of survival is absolutely incredible.

After five months lost at sea, the U.S. Navy rescued two women and two dogs on Oct. 25 off the coast of Japan.

Jennifer Appel, Tasha Fuiava and Appel’s two dogs, Valentine and Zeus, set out on May 3 from Oahu, Hawaii on their 50-foot sailboat, the “Sea Nymph,” People.com reports. Their intended destination was Tahiti, approximately 2,700 miles away from Oahu. Appel was an experienced sailor, while Fuiava was a novice.

After a series of unlucky events, the women found themselves and the dogs lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The first problem they encountered was when a piece of their mast failed. Then on May 30, a storm flooded the engine, disabling most of their communications.

The women attempted to make daily distress calls for 98 days in a row, but they were always out of range. They saw other ships that failed to respond and estimated that they fired off at least 10 flares. With no sign of a viable rescue option in sight, the pair began to lose hope that they would ever make it out of this desperate situation alive.

To make matters worse, they encountered terrifying moments, including a night when a group of seven sharks repeatedly slapped their tails on the hull of the sailboat.

Then on the 99th day, the pair’s prayers were answered when a Taiwanese fishing vessel located them. The boat was damaged, so U.S. sailors on the U.S.S. Ashland were called in for reinforcements. They were now nearly 5,000 miles off their intended route and about 900 miles west of Japan.

Check out this video news clip, which includes dramatic footage of the moment that help finally arrived:

In a conference call with reporters, Appel expressed the gratitude she felt when their nightmare was over:

“Thank God we were being rescued. I have tears in my eye as I say this. It was incredibly emotional and it was so satisfying to know that the men and women who serve their country would come and assist us. It was actually quite mind-blowing and quite humbling.”

The two women and their dogs will stay on the U.S.S Ashland until its next port of call, according to CBS “This Morning.” Despite their brush with death, Appel also told reporters the experience will not deter them from sailing again in the future. We’re so glad these brave women and pups have lived to tell their tale!