Missing sailor found 200 miles adrift of US coast

Louis Jordan, centre, was found by a German container ship after more than two months adrift at sea. Picture: APLouis Jordan, centre, was found by a German container ship after more than two months adrift at sea. Picture: AP
Louis Jordan, centre, was found by a German container ship after more than two months adrift at sea. Picture: AP

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A SAILOR found floating on the overturned hull of his boat more than two months after he was reported lost at sea said yesterday that he survived on a diet of rainwater and raw fish.

Louis Jordan, 37, was spotted by the crew of a German container ship on Thursday, clinging to the wreckage of his 35ft sailing boat 200 miles from the coast of North Carolina. A coastguard helicopter airlifted Mr Jordan to hospital in Virginia where he was treated for a shoulder injury and dehydration.

Last night Mr Jordan left hospital with no obvious signs of sunburn or other ailments.

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Petty officer Kyle McCollum of the US coastguard said Mr Jordan appeared in good condition when he was airlifted off his boat, despite his 66 day ordeal. “My initial impression of him was he was in pretty good health,” he said. “We were expecting worse with blisters and severe sunburn and dehydration.”

Mr Jordan set sail from South Carolina on his first ocean trip in January, telling his family he was going to do some fishing.

His father, Frank Jordan, reported him missing on 29 January after not hearing from his son for a week.

Speaking to his son for the first time yesterday, Frank Jordan said: “I thought I lost you.”

Mr Jordan apologised for not being able to sail home, but added: “I’m doing fine now.”

Chief petty officer Ryan Doss from the US coastguard said Mr Jordan told him he had survived 66 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean by drinking rainwater and eating raw fish he caught with his hands. He passed the time reading the Bible and dreaming about barbecue food and ice cream.

Mr Doss said it was unclear why Mr Jordan’s boat capsized, but reports claimed that the mast had been snapped in half. “We won’t really know what happened to him out there until we talk to him,” Mr Doss said.

The crew of the German tanker, Houston Express, said they found Mr Jordan sitting on the hull of his boat.

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Marilyn Fajardo, a spokeswoman for the US coastguard, said they were notified that Mr Jordan was missing by his father. A search began on 8 February but was abandoned after ten days. Other sailors reported seeing Mr Jordan’s boat, but none of the sightings were confirmed.

Before he set sail, Mr Jordan was living on his yacht, Angel, at the Bucksport Plantation Marina in Conway, South Carolina.

Jeff Weeks, the marina manager, said Mr Jordan spent months sanding and painting his 1950s-era single-masted boat, preparing it for his ocean fishing trip.

Mr Weeks said that Mr Jordan fished for food in inland waterways, but he did not think that he had open-sea sailing experience.

Last night, Mr Jordan’s mother, Norma Davis, said she was delighted by the news that her son had been rescued, adding that she is looking forward to celebrating her his return. “We do plan on having a wonderful Easter celebration with family and I can’t wait to get him back,” she said.