Two men and a dog were rescued from a sailboat without power or fuel more than 200 miles off Delaware, 10 days after friends and relatives last heard from them, the US Coast Guard said Tuesday.
Kevin Hyde, 65, and Joe Ditomasso, 76, sailed from Cape May, New Jersey to Marathon, Fla. But they disappeared after their sailboat Atrevida II left North Carolina’s Outer Banks on December 3.
The Coast Guard was notified Sunday that the two sailors were overdue and launched a search that would stretch from Florida to New Jersey, the agency said. Coast Guard cutters and planes participated in the search along with US Navy ships and commercial and recreational vessels.
On Tuesday, Hyde and Ditomasso waved their arms to draw the attention of the crew of the tanker Silver Muna off the Delaware coast, the Coast Guard said.
The sailboat’s lack of fuel or power rendered its radios and navigation equipment inoperable, according to the Coast Guard.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Hyde praised the “industriousness” of the Silver Muna’s crew.
“And they found us, and they realized we were on board and we waved and stuff,” Hyde said. “Because at that point my masts were down, all the systems were silent. We were just kind of hanging around in the boat… He backed up, he saw us, and he came around and picked us up. It was amazing. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack in this situation.”
Ditomasso added that the two went without drinking water for the last two days before their rescue, relying on extracting water from beans they had on board.
“And I bought these beans,” Ditomasso told reporters. “And the best thing about the beans is that they contain water. They were soaked in water. And we each took a sip.”
The men and the dog were brought aboard the tanker just after 4 p.m. An evaluation by the ship’s medical staff did not reveal any immediate concerns, the Coast Guard said.
After arriving in New York Harbor, the Coast Guard continued to investigate the two men before reuniting them with their family and friends.
“This is an excellent example of the maritime community’s concerted effort to ensure the safety of life at sea,” Daniel Schrader, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said in a statement.
Commander Schrader also stressed the importance of Sailors traveling with what is known as an “EPIRB” or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. It allows people on a boat to immediately contact first responders in an emergency.