Spiritually-strong sailor rescued after 66 days at sea was praying the whole time

Posted at 7:13 AM, Apr 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-03 07:13:58-04

NORFOLK -- The last time Frank Jordan spoke with his son, Louis Jordan was fishing on a sailboat a few miles off the South Carolina coast. The next time he spoke with him, more than two months had passed and the younger Jordan was on a German-flagged container ship 200 miles from North Carolina, just rescued from his disabled boat.

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"I thought I lost you," the relieved father said.

Louis Jordan, 37, took his 35-foot sailboat out in late January and hadn't been heard from in 66 days when he was spotted Thursday afternoon by the Houston Express on his ship drifting in the Atlantic Ocean. Frank Jordan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he had worried about his son, who is an inexperienced sailor, but he held hope because his son had a good boat. And he had the strength to make it.

"He's got very strong constitution and (is strong) not only physically, but spiritually," Frank Jordan told CNN. "And he told me on the phone that he was praying the whole time, so I believe that sustained him a great deal."

In an audio clip of the phone call released by the Coast Guard, the father asks the son how he is feeling.

"I'm doing fine now," Louis Jordan says.

Frank Jordan said his son had a shoulder injury but was otherwise OK.

CNN affiliate WAVY in Norfolk, Virginia, reported that Jordan was able to walk from the helicopter into Sentara Norfolk General Hospital at about 7:30 p.m. Jordan told his father that he survived by eating raw fish and drinking rainwater, Lt. Krystyn Pecora of the Coast Guard said.

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Louis Jordan was reported missing January 29, a few days after his last contact with his father. Frank Jordan told CNN he would have to talk to his son to see how the boat became disabled.

On the recording of the phone call, the son tells the father he couldn't fix the boat and sail it back to South Carolina.

He tells his father he worried everyday that his parents were crying, thinking he was dead.

The father then thanks the captain of the Houston Express.

"You're a good man, I swear. You did what you are supposed to do, and I sure do appreciate it," he says. "And I know my son appreciates it."