Monday, May 02, 2005
S.C. Teens Rescued After 6 Days at Sea.
SOUTHPORT, N.C. - Fifteen-year-old Troy Driscoll says he asked God to "take him" just hours before he and a friend were rescued off the Atlantic coast — adrift in a sailboat without food or fresh water.
As hours lapsed into days, the teenagers' endured the scorching sun, fended off sharks and resorted to drinking sea water. By day six, the last, hope was waning.
Driscoll and his best friend, 17-year-old Josh Long, were spotted Saturday about seven miles off Cape Fear — more than 100 miles from where they had begun off Sullivans Island, S.C., on April 24.
The boys were sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted, but otherwise in pretty good shape.
"I asked God to take me," Troy Driscoll said from a hospital Saturday night. "You're out there fighting for your life. We didn't want to fight anymore."
The pair quenched their thirst with sea water and slipped into the ocean to cool off, but sharks chased them back onto the boat. At night, they used a single wet suit to keep warm.
The teenagers had set out on a 14-foot Sunfish on a blustery day when the National Weather Service warned small boats to stay off the water. They realized they were in trouble almost immediately and tried to swim to shore, pulling the boat along with them.
They yelled to people on the beach, but were unheard. Within hours, the boys were out to sea.
"We lost our tackle the second day," Driscoll told one of his relatives. "So we couldn't catch any fish."
At one point, the teens thought they had drifted across the Atlantic Ocean and were close to Africa. Instead, they were about 111 miles north — well outside the Coast Guard's search grid — but close enough to spot a fishing boat.
"What we have is an absolutely miraculous story of survival that's going to be studied for years to come," said Richard Goerling, Long's uncle. "I think those two boys have a book to write."
After they were plucked from the water by fishermen aboard the Renegade, the teens were transferred to a Coast Guard vessel where they got medical attention and made a much anticipated phone call.
Tony Driscoll didn't recognize the phone number calling his cell phone, but he knew the voice.
"He started screaming 'It's my boy, it's my boy! He's been found, he's been found!'" family friend Kay Withrock said.
"We were praying for a miracle and we got one," Charleston Coast Guard Cmdr. June Ryan said. "Everybody on the East Coast has been looking for these boys."