Sailor Missing For 66 Days At Sea Found Alive Off Cape Hatteras—Survived On Raw Fish And Rain Water

Louis Jordan is a 37-year-old sailor from South Carolina who until yesterday afternoon was missing at sea for 66 grueling days. Prior to being rescued from the capsized hull of his sailboat 200-miles off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Louis Jordan was last seen on January 23rd. Louis Jordan was able to survive on a diet of raw fish he’d catch in the open ocean, and rain water he’d gather when the opportunity presented itself. This. Story. Is. Nuts.

After being found 200-miles off the coast of Cape Hatters Thursday afternoon, Louis Jordan spoke with reporters last night to recount his harrowing tale of survival. When speaking with reporters Mr. Jordan said he’d been catching and eating raw fish, drinking rain water, and living on the hull of his capsized sailboat. He also had a bible with him which he read feverishly to maintain his sanity.

Louis Jordan’s 66-day-and-night-long-ordeal began when his sailboat capsized back in January, and he broke his collarbone. In the tumult his boat drifted away from shore and his hellish nightmare set in. When his boat capsized he lost most of his equipment including his GPS, some food stuffs (rice), and captain’s log. Some of his equipment stuck with the ship though and he was able to balance raw fish with a steady diet of ‘pancakes’, which he ate nearly every morning….. Listen, 66 days lost at sea sounds like hell on earth, but how bad can anything truly be when you’re able to eat pancakes every morning for breakfast?!

Several reporters have made contact with Louis Jordan since his rescue yesterday, each painting a unique picture of Mr. Jordan’s 66-day nightmare. Here are some excerpts from just a few accounts I’ve read from around the Interwebosphere:

Hampton Roads:

Missing since January, a South Carolina man was found Thursday afternoon on the capsized hull of his sailboat about 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

It’s unclear how long he’d been living like that, but 37-year-old Louis Jordan told his rescuers and TV reporters that he’d been catching and eating fish to survive. He told reporters overnight that he also drank rain water. He was forced to bail water out of the boat with one hand and arm because of a shoulder injury to his other arm.

“I was just praying about you because I was afraid that you guys were crying and sad that, you know, I was dead,” he told his father, Frank Jordan, in a recorded phone call released by the Coast Guard.

Frank Jordan replied, “Yeah, well, we were. I thought I lost you.”

Jordan told reporters that he worried about dying out on the ocean.

And, then he saw the German ship. He waved his hands and blew a whistle. When he finally saw the rear of the boat turning, he thought, “Oh, wow! This is it!” he told reporters.

On Thursday, about 1:30 p.m., the Coast Guard in Portsmouth got a call from the German-flagged container ship Houston Express indicating they had spotted Jordan on his capsized sailboat and taken him aboard.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the Elizabeth City Coast Guard Air Station launched about 3:40 p.m. to meet the ship.

During the recorded call with his son, Frank Jordan also got to thank the captain of the Houston Express.

Jordan was hoisted aboard the rescue helicopter about 5:50 p.m., Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn said. The flight was so long, the helicopter had to stop and refuel aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, Littlejohn said.

Jordan arrived at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital about 7:30 and walked inside with a Coast Guard crewman steadying him. Littlejohn said Jordan complained of a shoulder injury. His parents planned to meet him there. He later was released from the hospital.

ABC News caught up with Mr. Jordan to discuss in detail his tale of survival:

What supplies did he have?

When his boat flipped over, Jordan lost most of his equipment, including his captain’s log, GPS devices and rice, he said in an interview with ABC News.

“We don’t know where he capsized,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss, according to the AP, adding that the Coast Guard will need to talk to him at length to learn more.

What did he eat?

For Jordan, a key to survival was pancakes. He made two or three of the breakfast staple each day with flour fried in oil.

He also caught fish. To drink, Jordan relied on rainwater, which he said tasted like coconut milk.

Jordan claimed to have rationed his water to about one pint per day, the AP reported.

His father, Frank Jordan, told CNN Thursday he wasn’t too worried about his son going without food because he had fasted before.

However, he told reporters today, “Sometimes I cried so much that I thought there just wasn’t anything left.

Prior to getting lost at sea Louis Jordan had been living on his boat, and according to NBC News when he embarked out into open water on his sailboat his plan was to hit the Gulf Stream and do some fishing. For those of you that don’t know the Gulf Stream is a warm, very fast moving current that runs through the Atlantic and comes in closer and closer to the coast as it approaches the state of Florida. It’s a body of water you’d typically hit to target pelagic species like Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin.

I expect to see a TON of interviews in the coming days about Louis Jordan’s 66-day ordeal at sea, followed by a book, and then a movie. So sit tight and expect a crazy amount of news about this in the coming days, months, and years.

[Hampton Roads / ABC News]