25 Unbelievable Lost At Sea Stories
We all appreciate spending peaceful evenings watching sunsets while taking a stroll across the stretch of a beach, don’t we? The feeling of soft sand and cold water touching your feet as you admire the beauty of the vast blue ocean in front of your eyes is beyond explanations! The cool breeze playing with your hair and the mesmerizing view of the horizon sum up to a pretty relaxing day. While there is no denying the fact that the ocean is beautiful, it wouldn’t hurt any of us to be wary of another ocean fact that is – it is undoubtedly dangerous as well! All of you must have heard horrifying ‘lost at sea stories’. After all folks, sometimes what good can years of experience be when the weather suddenly turns against your favor or you are greeted unexpectedly by dangerous sea creatures! From harrowing storms to sudden mechanical failures, at times things just go haywire!! There are actual incidents where hapless mariners have survived for months stranded amidst the vast blue mass of water. However, others have not been that lucky and succumbed before help could reach them.
While getting lost at sea and surviving against all odds may sound cool to some of you right now if you were to actually find yourself stuck in the middle of an ocean without sufficient supplies or a map, would you be able to tough it out till rescued? Irrespective of what your answer is, do take a look at the amazing survival stories of these 25 people who successfully braved the harsh sea and made it back alive!
Aldi Novel Adilang
Heard of Aldi Novel Adilang? This brave Indonesian teen spent 49 days stranded at the sea, many miles away from home before finally being rescued by a Panamanian vessel! The fishing hut he worked on drifted, on July 14, 2018, far away from the Indonesian coast. The fishing hut, locally called a ‘rompong’, is kept tethered to the seabed with the help of ropes. Due to unexpected strong winds, the teen’s hut just snapped and he was stranded! He survived at the sea by cooking fish using the wood that he broke off his romping. He tried to grab the attention of ships and vessels passing by but to no avail. When he saw the MV Arpeggio approaching he sent out an emergency radio signal and was finally saved by the vessel! He reached his home on the 8th of September!
Two Burmese Men
A small Thai fishing boat went missing form a sea expedition back in December, 2008. The boat had 20 crew members and nothing was heard from any of them for almost a month and it was thought that were taken by the sea! However, after 25 days, an ice box was spotted bobbling about by a customs plane near Horn Island which comes under the Australian waters. When checked, two Burmese men from the said fishing boat fiasco were found inside! These guys had made it through shark infested waters and even braved the Charlotte Cyclone by taking shelter inside the cool box that is used for the purpose of storing fish!
A German tanker rescued Louis Jordan after being stranded for 66 days at the sea. He went on a fishing trip and met with an unfortunate storm that not only messed up his rudder and mast but even knocked out his radio! He thankfully had sufficient supply of canned food as well as various useful tools required for a comparatively easy survival, like his laundry! After running out of food, he survived by catching fish. People, including the authorities, actually had a hard time believing that he had been stranded at the sea for more than two months as he looked so well fed when he finally returned!
The record of spending the maximum number of days adrift at sea was held by China’s Poon Lim for quite a long time. He roughed it at open waters for 133 days, from November 1942 to April 1943! Amazing right? He boarded the British merchant ship which was unfortunately torpedoed soon after it left Cape Town by a Nazi U-boat. Lim threw himself overboard and treaded the waters for two hiurs before luckily spotting a life raft which had biscuits, fresh water, some flares and a torch. After running out of the meager food supply, he survived by catching fish and seagulls and by fighting sharks. He was finally rescued at the Amazon River’s mouth by Brazilian fishermen. He was awarded with the British Empire Medal by King George VI and his story was added to the survival manuals by the Royal Navy.
All of you must be familiar with the name of Steven Callahan, the inventor who embarked all alone on a journey to sail across the Atlantic back in 1981! The sea was not so welcoming as Callahan went on to encounter scary storms and his boat was struck by whales. After his boat was effectively destroyed, he managed to escape into an inflatable life raft which luckily had the requisite supplies to survive! Callahan was rescued after being adrift at sea for 76 days by some fishermen who spotted him in the Caribbean.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga
Jose Salvador Alvarenga was found by two Ebon Atoll locals on January 30, 2014 on a local beach and it was quite a sight for them. After all, they did not get to witness a thin, bearded man who was completely naked with a knife clutched in one of his hands shouting something in Spanish! Jose Salvador had been lost at sea for exactly 438 days! Yes, you read it right! More than a year and a couple of months! Jose’s boat was blown off course after being caught in a storm near the Mexican coast. Although, he wasn’t alone but his Ezequiel, his only companion, died after 4 months of being stranded. Alvarenga survived by eating fish, birds, turtles and even sharks! He drank rain water! Faith helped him make it!
Tami Oldham And Richard Sharp
Most of you would already watched ‘Adrift’ satrring Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley. If you have not yet, you must! The movie is based on a real life survival at sea story that is sure to amaze as well as inspire you! Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp, two real life adventurers were stranded at the sea and braved ferocious storms and more to make it back alive. It was their strong will, determination and resilience that helped them survive even in the roughest of the times in the open waters.
Ko Ko Oo And Haung Htaik
Two Burmese fishermen namely, Haung Htaik and Ko Ko Oo were spotted and then rescued by an Australian Coast Guard in 2009. The fishermen were found bobbing in an ice box which was the size of a bathtub. They made it alive in waters which were infested by sharks! After being rescued, the duo revealed that their boat which had 18 other fishermen sank soon after setting sails from Thailand. They, however, managed to survive by catching fish regurgitated by sea birds and drinking rainwater. Their story even made it to international headlines!
Jesus Eduardo Vidana, Lucio Rendon and Salvador Ordonez
On August 9, 2006, Salvador Ordonez, Jesus Eduardo Vidana and Lucio Rendon were found by a Taiwanese fishing vessel in the South Pacific Ocean. The men narrated that they had set out from San Blas, a Mexican Port, on a shark fishing expedition previous October! The said port is about 5000 miles or 8000 km away from where they were rescued! Their 27 feet boat was left stranded at sea after being caught by ferocious winds. They were left at the mercy of the currents after running out of fuel and managed to stay alive by consuming raw fish and rainwater. Others weren’t able to stomach this diet and thus couldn’t survive.
Lapahele Sopi and Telea Paa
Telea Paa and Lapahele Sopi who were from Samoa which is in the South Pacific managed to survive for four whole months stranded at sea. They roughed it at the dangerous open waters in a small metal boat. They were not alone when they went adrift at sea. There were other two men with them but unfortunately they were not able make it alive because of starvation and thirst. Them surviving was also a miracle as said by a local doctor who treated them after they were finally rescued. The pair was rescued in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea by a villager almost 4000 km away from their homes in 2001! The villager luckily heard the last flare that the pair fired and paddled to them in his canoe.
Captain Oguri Jukichi
Captain Oguri Jukichi spent the longest period adrift at sea- along with one of his sailors- between 1813 and 1815, according to Guinness World records. It says the two Japanese men survived about 484 days after their Captain Oguri Jukichi along with one of his fellow sailors was stranded at sea for the longest period between 1813 and 1815, according to the Guinness World Records! The two Japanese men miraculously managed to survive for almost 484 days in the open waters after their vessel was wrecked by a severe storm off the coast of Japan. 12 other crew members were not able to make it and lost their lives to extreme vitamin deficiency. The duo kept alive by consuming soy beans from hundreds of bags! They drifted to the Pacific before finally being rescued on March 24, 1815 off the Californian Coast.
Deborah Kiley and another fellow crew member managed to survive for five days on a life raft off the coast of USA back in 1982. The pair made it back alive without any supply of food or drinking water which was quite astounding! Their vessel was hit by a ferocious storm. There were 3 more crew members with them but two of them could not keep sane and were savored by sharks after becoming delusional. The third died because of deep wounds which he got when the boat sank. You would already know the incident if you have watched ‘Two Came Back’ a movie based on Miss Kiley’s survival at sea story.
Amanda Thorns, Willie Thorns And Dennis White
Back in 2010 Willie Thorns and Amanda Thorns, a father daughter duo along with one of Willie’s friends Dennis White decided to enjoy open waters of the Atlantic but things did not go smoothly for the trio as the waters got rough! They were left stranded at sea! Willie was not able to stay alive and was taken by the waters. Amanda and Dennis got lucky as the winds were in their favor which eventually propelled them to safety after suffering the wrath of the sea for 15 days.
Some of you may have heard about Andrew McAuley, an Australian adventurer! McAuley made an attempt to sail across the Tasman Sea in February 2007 in his kayak. However, he did not conquer this challenging task and ended up disappearing at sea. His kayak capsized and he is presumably dead. His body was never found though! What was found was a memory stick from his camera. As McAuley’s situation worsened he could be heard saying that he hoped that he hadn’t bitten off more than he could have chewn! We wish he would have made it alive!
Toakai Teitoi was stranded at sea in 2012 for 15 weeks! He boarded a vessel for his home island but the two hour long trip from Kiribati to the island but something went wrong and Teitoi ended up being lost at sea for more than 3 months. According to him, a shark played a crucial role in saving his life. Apparently a shark swimming beneath him gave a bump to the hull of Teitoi’s ship which woke him up from a sleep. He then noticed the stern of another ship passing by. He signaled for help and was finally rescued by the said ship’s crew!
At a young age of 16, Abby Sunderland made an attempt to become the world’s youngest sailor with the credit of having completed a solo circumnavigation of the earth. She started from California and went on to reach Mexico in early 2010. After about four months into the expedition, in June, the teen was encountered by ferocious winds that destroyed the mast of her boat when she was in the Indian Ocean. She was stranded at sea for two days as she lost satellite phone reception. However, her Personal Locator Beacon was activated and she was thus rescued!
William And Simone Butler
In 1989, Simone and William Butler’s massive boat was attacked by whales. They had to abandon their ship to ensure their survival. Before doing that, the couple managed to get their hands at a fishing rod and a water purifier which definitely worked in their favor. They were able to sustain themselves alive for the two months they were lost at sea. They were eventually rescued by the Costa Rican Coast Guard.
Terry Jo Duperrault
In 1961, when Terry Jo Duperrault was only 11, she went for a vacation with his family. Alas, the family vacation was not the fun trip as expected by her family! The family boarded a chartered boat and when Terry woke up somewhere around the coast of Florida, she discovered that her entire family had been murdered by the ship’s captain. He even tried to harm her but she managed to escape through a dinghy. She was rescued after three days and even survived a hypothermia. The emotional and mental trauma she must have undergone is beyond our imagination.
This one is surely going to leave you wondering! Back in 2011, a Disney cruise’s crew member Rebecca Coriam mysteriously disappeared from the ship as the ship was making its way to the Pacific coast of Mexico. Coriam’s whereabouts are still not known. This missing case has led to a lot of rumors. The case is still unsolved! Pretty intriguing, right folks? We sure think so!
Perry Cohen And Austin Stephanos
Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, two 14 year teenagers were reported missing from the coast of Florida back in 2015. When the teens were last seen, they were seen purchasing fuel for their boat which was 19 foot long! Soon after, because of thunderstorms the area was gripped by high winds and humongous waves rocked the ocean and the coast. A couple of days later, their boat was found capsized but there was no sign of the kids! Initially the authorities were hopeful that the boys would be found alive as they were skilled mariners because of being a part of the boating community. However, rescue teams failed to locate the teens even after an exhaustive search from Eastern Coast of Florida to South California. The search had to be called off without any success.
Nathan Carman along with Linda, his mother, set out for an overnight sail from the Rhode Island in the September of 2016. When they started, neither of the two imagined that their engine room would eventually get flooded with water. However, that did happen. We can not even imagine how terribly horrifying this would have been for the mother son duo! While Nathan somehow managed to stay alive, Linda met a sad fate and was swept away by the sea. Nathan was rescued only after roughing it at sea for a week. He was rescued about 100 miles off the coast.
Remember the Great Sendai Earthquake of 2011? Japan was hit by a devastating tsunami and earthquake back in 2011. This calamity wiped out every structure that once stood tall in the area whhich included Hiromitsu Shinkawa’s home! The waves, however, failed to kill the spirit of this sixty year old man who miraculously managed to survive by holding on to a raft! He made it for two whole days before finally being rescued. That my friends is called the zeal to live!!
During World War 2, Louis Zamperini (a soldier), along with eight other men, was flying for the USA Air Force. Somewhere over the Pacific, their plane was shot down. Although, Louis managed to stay alive harshing it out at sea he was eventually made a POW after being rescued by the Japanese. He was finally let go in 1945. Some of you may have watched ‘Unbroken’, a movie directed by Angelina Jolie. The movie is based on the life story of brave Louis Zamperini! It definitely makes for an inspiring watch.
Do you think experience is all you need to face the ferocious sea? While there may be some truth in the statement, when nature strikes with all it’s might, even countless of years of experience do not suffice to brave the wrath that follows. The story of Ron Ingraham, a seasoned fisherman bares witness to the same. In 2014 Ingraham was on his way to a Hawaiian island and his boat met with an accident at sea. It was believed that he lost his life but Ingraham was rescued after 12 days, hundreds of miles away from where he left!
In 2012, when Adrian Vasquez, an 18 year old, decided to go fishing at night along with two of his friends off the coast of Panama, he wouldn’t have imagined the fate he was about to meet. The teens could not handle the strong currents and lost control of their boat. They were eventually carried away by the currents to deeper waters and were starnded at sea. Although, Adrian somehow survived and was spotted by some fishermen near the Galapagos islands after 22 days, his friends could not make it back alive.