US sailors and their dogs rescued after five months at sea

Two American sailors and their dogs have been rescued after drifting off course and spending five months stranded in the Pacific Ocean.

US Navy sailors rescued the two women and their canine companions on Wednesday, 25 October, from their sailboat that had been adrift at sea for months.

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Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both from Honolulu, had set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti this spring and experienced engine problems on May 30 during bad weather.

They continued, though, believing they could make it to their destination by sail.Two months into their journey and long past when they originally estimated they would reach Tahiti, they began issuing distress calls daily.

However, they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive the calls. A Taiwanese fishing vessel discovered the sailboat 900 miles southeast of Japan on 24 October, and the fishing vessel crew contacted the US Coast Guard in Guam, which coordinated the rescue.

The USS Ashland made it to the scene first on 25 October at about 10.30am and brought the women and their dogs aboard at just before 1.30pm.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Appel said: "They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief."

It's thought the foursome survived as they had packed a water purifier and a large store of dry goods, like oatmeal and pasta.

According to the Telegraph, Joyce Appel, 75, spoke to her daughter for the first time in five months on Thursday.

"She said, 'Mom?' and I said, 'Jennifer!?' because I hadn't heard from her in like five months," she said. "And she said 'yes mom,' and that was really exciting."

She said she called the US Coast Guard about week and a half after the pair left Honolulu, and never gave up hope she would be ok.

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