Two US women rescued after spending five months adrift at sea have spoken about their ordeal, saying they "were just incredibly lucky" to survive.
After five months adrift, the two were rescued this week after they were spotted by a Taiwanese fishing vessel some 900 miles off the coast of Japan-far from their intended route. She said she was relieved to finally talk to her daughter briefly after they were safe. Appel said another shark came the next night, slamming itself against the hull of the ship. "The two continued the calls daily, but they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive them", the US Navy said.
"And both of them - we actually thought it was lights out", Appel said, "and they were horrific".
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. They planned to travel some 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) south to Tahiti aboard a small sailboat.
"When she got on the telephone, she was very enthusiastic and she just sounded great", Appel said.
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.
Jennifer Appel, of Honolulu, blows kisses as rescuers approach her crippled sailboat, the Sea Nymph, after being lost at sea for months, about 900 miles southeast of Japan..
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Thanks to advice from local fisherman, the two brought along a years worth of food and some backup supplies in case an emergency happened.
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.
"If they hadn't been found there (off Japan) there's a good chance they'd have gone back out to the Pacific", Ebbesmeyer said. "And she said, 'yes mom", and that was really exciting".
The sailboat was deemed unseaworthy and is now drifting out at sea, a Navy spokesman said during the call from the Ashland.
The women were given medical assessments and will remain aboard the USS Ashland until its next port of call, the Navy said. "They saved our lives". "The pride and smiles we had when we saw (US Navy) on the horizon was pure relief". "Three would get on one side and two would get on the other side, and they would make waves and try to knock down the boat".
"There's different sunrises and sunsets every day ... and you're around for a reason, but you may as well use the time to do something beneficial".