Two men and a dog who were lost at sea for 10 days after sailing from New Jersey to Florida said they relied on prayer and were miraculously saved.
Kevin Hyde, 65, and Joe Ditomasso, 76, were spotted by a tanker in the Atlantic Ocean after they set sail on Dec. 3 on Hyde’s sailboat, dubbed the “Atrevida II,” and have not been heard from again.
The two men said at a press conference in Staten Island on Wednesday evening that they had been thrown off course by a storm — but survived with some confidence.
“It’s just a minor miracle that we were found at all,” Hyde said, according to FOX 5 New York.
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“All I asked the Lord was to see my granddaughter,” Ditomasso added during the press conference.
The two men and Ditomasso’s 13-year-old Bichon Poodle mix, who was on the sailboat with them, stopped in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, and were never heard from again after a storm with mountain-sized waves pushed them further. . to the sea, they said.
“A huge storm blew up and blew us off course,” Hyde said.
The sailboat lost power and ran out of fuel, they said. The mast was also destroyed.
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Ditomasso added: “40 feet high seas – there were mountains, I looked at them.”
The men never reached their intended destination in Florida and their families reported them missing on December 11.
The U.S. Coast Guard launched a major search and rescue effort, involving planes, helicopters and boats to cover more than 21,000 square miles from Massachusetts to Florida. A U.S. Navy cruiser also assisted in the search, as did a number of commercial and recreational craft, FOX 5 New York reported.
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After being missing for 10 days, the two men were found by a tanker, The Silver Muna.
“The #USCG, with the help of the tanker Silver Muna, located the #boat 214 miles east of Delaware,” the Coast Guard said. “The Atrevida II was found to be out of fuel and power, rendering their radios and navigation equipment useless.”
“We waved and things like that because by then my mast was down, all the systems were muted, we just hung onto the boat,” Hyde recalled. “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack in this situation.”
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Captain Neerah Chaudhary said he too was praying for the men he had safely rescued.
“We rescued them with our crane and cargo net,” Chaudhary said, according to the report. “I was praying, ‘God save them, our rescue should be successful.'”
Chaudhary brought the men and dog to New York Harbor, where the Coast Guard was reunited with their families.
“This is an excellent example of the collective effort of the maritime community to ensure the safety of life at sea,” said Cmdr. Daniel Schrader, the Coast Guard Atlantic Area spokesman. “We are thrilled with the outcome of the case and look forward to reuniting Mr Hyde and Mr Ditomasso with their families and friends.”
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He added: “We also want to emphasize the importance of proper safety equipment and preparedness when going to sea. With an emergency position indicating radio beacon, or ‘EPIRB’, mariners can make immediate contact with first responders in the event of an emergency.”
As for the men, they said they are happy to be home and looking forward to celebrating Christmas.