Two American sailors and their two dogs were overjoyed to be rescued by the U.S. Navy after being lost at sea for five months.
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava were discovered about 900 miles southeast of Japan in the Pacific.
The women had set off from Hawaii in the spring on a 2,600-mile journey to Tahiti. But on May 30, their engine died during a bad storm. They thought they could make landfall using the boat’s sails.
Instead, they bobbed and drifted far off course. After two months adrift, the pair issued daily distress signals. But there were no ships close enough to hear their transmissions.
On Tuesday, a Taiwanese fishing boat discovered the women and their craft and notified the U.S. Coast Guard, which in turn contacted the Navy.
The USS Ashland, an amphibious landing vessel, was on routine patrols in the region and was dispatched to rescue the stranded travelers.
The women waved and blew kisses to the approaching ship.
“I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives,” Appel said in a statement released by the Navy. “The pride and smiles we had when we saw [them] on the horizon was pure relief.”
The dogs looked pretty relieved, too.
The women and their pets were given food, beds and a thorough once-over by the ship’s medical staff.
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. Steven Wasson.
The women survived thanks to a year’s supply of food consisting mostly of dry goods including oatmeal, pasta and rice, and water purifiers they had on board.