Two sailors and their two dogs rescued after being stranded in Pacific Ocean for two months

Sailor Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both from Honolulu, and their two dogs set sail from Hawaii to Tahiti this spring but shortly after they began their journey, bad weather caused them to veer off course.

Appel and Fuiaba had an engine problem May 30 during bad weather. They continued on hoping to make it to land.

One of their dogs, identified as Zeus, looks pretty happy in the coast guard photo to be walking on terra firma. The other pooch, Valentine, was ship shape, too.

A Sailor greets Zeus the dog with his owner Tasha Fuiaba, left, on the boat deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) after assistance was rendered to their distressed sailboat. Ashland, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region on a routine deployment, rescued two American mariners who had been in distress for several months after their sailboat had a motor failure and had strayed well off its original course while traversing the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

Two months into their journey and long past when they originally estimated they would reach Tahiti, they began issuing distress calls. The two continued the calls daily, but they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive them.

#USSAshland rescues mariners who had drifted off course, stranded in Pacific Ocean for months. U.S. Navy/Twitter

On Oct. 24, they were discovered 900 miles southeast of Japan by a Taiwanese fishing vessel. The fishing vessel contacted Coast Guard Sector Guam who then coordinated with Taipei Rescue Coordination Center, the Japan Coordination Center, and the Joint Coordination Center in Honolulu to render assistance.

The Sasebo-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) rendered assistance to the two stranded sailors and their dogs.

“I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief,” said Appel.

Appel said they survived the situation by bringing water purifiers and over a year’s worth of food on board, primarily in the form of dry goods such as oatmeal, pasta and rice.

Once on Ashland, the mariners were provided with medical assessments, food and berthing arrangements. The mariners will remain on board until Ashland’s next port of call.

Part of U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward deployed naval forces out of Sasebo, Japan, Ashland has been on a routine deployment for the past five months as a ready-response asset for any of contingency.

For more news, follow the conversation @Amphib7Flt on Twitter.

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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