What was supposed to be a leisurely sailing trip turned into a nightmare. Two men and a pet dog were found floating more than 200 miles from shore after a storm blew the mast off their boat while sailing in the Atlantic. After running out of fuel, power, and water, it was a miracle that they were rescued.
The Men Lost Fuel, Power, Communications Systems
Kevin Hyde, 65, and Joe Ditomasso, 76, were sailing their Atrevida II from New Jersey to Florida on November 27. Everything was fine until a massive storm rolled in around the Outer Banks of North Carolina on December 3rd. They were blown off course and then their mast blew off the boat.
Hyde said they were “sailing along, having a good time” until the storm came in. They ran out of fuel and lost power shortly after. With no power, their radios didn’t work.
“We were just being pushed out to sea farther and farther,” Hyde said.
The lost crew faced 40-ft waves that rocked them helplessly. The men had no idea where in the Atlantic they were floating to.
When the Coast Guard was finally notified that the sailors never arrived at their destination, a search was launched. Aircraft, the U.S. Navy, recreational vessels, and commercial vessels joined a search that spanned from New Jersey to Florida.
The Men Were Found Floating Over 200 Miles Out in the Atlantic
The men and their pet dog ran out of water during their last two days floating somewhere out in the Atlantic. Ditomasso recalled that he’d packed cans of beans. He said they were taking turns sipping water from the can.
Luckily, the sailors had a flashing light that was functioning. Hyde was using it when “by some bizarre chance” someone on a tanker saw it. The Silver Muna tanker was headed to New York from The Netherlands.
“If you look at the size of his ship and the size of the ocean and just compare it to this toothpick that I’m floating around in — just to be able to spot that, because of the diligence of his crew,” said Hyde.
Hyde and Ditomasso were over 200 miles off the coast of Delaware at the time. It was a miracle that the tanker spotted the men floating that far out in the Atlantic. Who knows how much longer they could have survived.
Hyde, Ditomasso, and the dog were brought to New York on the Silver Muna. There, they’d be medically evaluated and reunited with loved ones.
Commander Daniel Schrader, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, used the opportunity to remind mariners to always carry emergency beacons. He also praised the combined efforts that eventually led to the men’s rescue.