Two teenage boys who were thought to be lost at sea are recovering in a South Carolina hospital Monday after a six days adrift without food or water.
“I can honestly say I never gave up hope. God had us in his hands the whole time,” said 17-year-old Josh Long, who was rescued after a nearly weeklong ordeal at sea.
Long and his friend, 15-year-old Troy Driscoll, lost control of their 14-ft. sailboat after high winds pushed them out to sea off the coast of Charleston, S.C. on April 24. (A National Weather Service warning had been issued.) The teens survived nearly a week on the open ocean by eating jellyfish, drinking seawater – which actually advances dehydration – and praying.
“I asked God, ‘If it’s your will that we not live, take us home,'” Driscoll told the Associated Press. “‘If not, send us a boat.'”
Though the friends spotted some passing boats during their time adrift, no one spotted them until Saturday when a fishing boat called Renegade noticed them. The friends were rescued off the North Carolina coast, more than 100 miles from where they set out off South Carolina to fish.
Severely sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted, but both boys, who are from North Charleston, S.C., were recovering Monday at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The boys said they huddled together at night for warmth and spent their days searching for help, praying and singing hymns. Though he was starving, Long refused to eat jellyfish, which Driscoll fished out of the sea.
“I saw them in the water and ate two little strings off of one and the next day I was fine,” Driscoll said. “It was nasty and the aftertaste made me nauseous.”
The Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources searched for the teens for several days but officials began referring to the search as a recovery operation toward the end of the week.
“I was in the Navy for four years. I was out there and I couldn’t see them surviving,” said Troy’s dad, Tony Driscoll.
The elder Driscoll was the first person to hear from the Coast Guard that the boys had been found. “I screamed at the top of my lungs that they’ve got our boys,” he said. “God had his angels around those boys the whole time.”
Despite the ordeal, the teens they’ll still go in the ocean. “I’ll probably go out, but not anytime soon,” Troy Driscoll said.
And it will be in a boat, Long added, “with a motor – or two motors.”