Sometimes when you’re fishing, you have to use what’s available and create some unique rigs to keep fishing. Fisherman Ron Ingraham had to be creative to save his life while lost at sea.
On Thanksgiving Day, Ingraham went out fishing on his 25-foot sailboat, Malia, off the coast of Kailua, Hawaii. The trip started out like any other, but then the weather turned. Waves up to 20 feet high battered the sailboat. Ingraham called out a mayday, but then a wave hit and broke the radio antenna.
The wave also tossed Ingraham overboard, but he had tied a safety rope to himself and managed to get back into the sailboat. Unfortunately, most of his supplies went overboard, too.
“I thought I was going to die,” Ingraham said. “I hung in there. It took mental discipline.”
After his one and only mayday, the U.S. Coast Guard made an exhaustive search of the 12,000-square-mile area where Ingraham’s GPS was located. On Dec. 1, the Coast Guard called off the search.
On Dec. 9, the Coast Guard miraculously received another transmission from Ingraham. The U.S. Navy destroyer Paul Hamilton picked up a dehydrated and weak Ingraham 64 miles south of Honolulu.
The angler had used a coat hanger and miscellaneous wires to make a radio antenna and was attempting to use his auxiliary sail to get back to the island.
Ingraham survived for two weeks using what he could catch from the ocean for food and hydration.
“I was way out there, and I was out of water, but I hydrated on fish,” he said. “I’m a fisherman, so I caught fish.”