It had been 12 days since Ron Ingraham made his first distress call from his sailboat, after disappearing in waters south of Hawaii. But he tried to give it one more try.
His life depended on it.
“This is a mayday, mayday, mayday,” said Ingraham, 67. “… Small boat, in danger of sinking.”
Thankfully, this time, the U.S. Coast Guard heard his call, doing a “great job (to) recognize it,” Lt. Scott Carr told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.
Authorities tracked down Ingraham on Tuesday, soon after that last distress call, about 64 miles (103 kilometers) south of Honolulu. They found the sailor, who is expected to arrive in port Wednesday, “weak, hungry and dehydrated” and — most importantly — alive.
His friend Dedrick Manaba, a fisherman, told Hawaii News Now that both Ingraham’s masts were broken and he was using an auxiliary sail.
Ingraham had first issued distress calls when his boat began taking on water on November 27, but a 12,000-square-mile search failed to spot the 25-foot sailboat, and the Coast Guard called off the effort four days later.
His son, Zakary, told Hawaii News Now that a Coast Guard officer earlier had told him they’d be calling off the search.
“I said, ‘Man, I don’t think you should call off the search, because I don’t think he’s gone,’ ” Zakary Ingraham said.
Then he got the call that his dad had been rescued, news that he described as “awesome.”
Zakary Ingraham said of his dad: “Twelve days, man. He’s a champ! He’s tough!”