A local fisherman from Hawaii was lost at sea for 12 days until he was miraculously found by a Navy vessel. Suffering only from weakness, hunger, and dehydration, he was brought back on shore to the island of Molokai.
67-year old Ron Ingraham, set to sail on Thanksgiving but had to send out his first mayday call when his boat started taking on water and he became in danger of sinking. Although the Coast Guard was able to pick up his mayday and conducted an extensive search, they were unable to locate him.
On Dec. 2, one day after the search was suspended; another mayday call was picked up by the USS Paul Hamilton, a guided-missile destroyer just three miles away. They rescued Ingraham and gave him food and water.
According to Ingraham, he survived his ordeal by hydrating on raw fish.
"Thought I was going to die. I hung in there... I'm a fisherman so I caught fish; it wasn't as good as a sushi bar, but that's how I hydrated," he said.
When he arrived on shore, Ingraham was in good spirits. Saying he would head straight to the bar.
To give the story an even happier ending, Ingraham will be reunited with his son, Zakary, who lives in Missouri and whom he has not seen in 15 years.
"We didn't really have a falling out, we just kind of grew apart," 43-year old Zakary said.
His parents divorced when he was 7 and he moved to Oahu with his mother while Ron Ingraham remained on Kealakekua on the Big Island. Eventually, Zakary moved to the mainland and was unable to keep in touch with his father who lived on his boat and did not keep a phone or have an email address.
When Zakary was informed that the search for his father was being called off, he begged the Coast Guard not to give up, knowing that his old man was tough and could still be out there. Years of regret of not reaching out to his father sooner flooded him and he could only hope for a miracle that he would be able to see his dad again and introduce him to his 8 year old grandson.
His instincts proved to be right and he is now saving up enough funds to travel to Hawaii so see his father again.