Navy rescues 2 women, dogs stranded for 5 months in Pacific Ocean

PACIFIC OCEAN — The United States Navy helped rescue two women and their dogs who had spent five months stranded in the Pacific Ocean. After setting sail from Hawaii to Tahiti, the women soon ran into trouble and strayed off course.

According to a news release from the Navy, the USS Ashland picked up Honolulu mariners Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba Wednesday. The two had been stranded for months after their sailboat went off course and their engine died on May 30 during bad weather.

USS Ashland Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel, an American mariner who had received assistance from Ashland crew members.(Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released/Navy Media Content Operations (N)

The release said, after they were stranded at sea for two months, the women began issuing daily distress calls. There were no vessels or shore stations close enough to hear them until Tuesday, when a Taiwanese fishing vessel discovered them 900 miles southeast of Japan.

By Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the USS Ashland was at the location of the vessel. By 1:18 p.m., Appel, Fuiaba and their dogs had been brought onto the ship, after it was determined by crew that their sailboat was unseaworthy.

Sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were accompanying two mariners who were aided by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released/Navy Media Content Operations (N)

“I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw (the ship) on the horizon was pure relief,” Appel said in the release.

“The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation,” Cmdr. Steven Wasson, USS Ashland commanding officer, said.

According to the release, Appel said she, Fuiaba and the dogs were able to survive because of water purifiers and a year’s supply of mostly dry foods, such as oatmeal, pasta and rice.

Navy video of the ship as it reaches the sailboat is below.

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