A man whose family reported him missing at sea more than two months ago was found floating on the overturned hull of his sailboat 200 miles off the North Carolina coast yesterday, the US Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard officials in Portsmouth, Virginia, said they received word from a German container ship at about 1.30pm, indicating they spotted a man and his sailboat approximately 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras.
A spokeswoman for the Coast Guard’s 5th District office said that a Coast Guard helicopter crew from North Carolina flew to the ship and airlifted Louis Jordan to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.
She said Mr. Jordan, 37, had a shoulder injury but she did not have any additional information about his condition.
Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said Mr. Jordan’s 35ft sailboat had lost its mast and capsized. The container ship crew said it found Jordan sitting on the hull.
Mr. Doss said it was not known where or how long the boat had been capsized, but said Jordan told them he ate fish he caught to survive.
“We won’t really know what happened to him out there until we talk to him,” he said.
Mr. Jordan had been living on his docked sailboat at the Bucksport Plantation Marina in Conway, South Carolina, until January, when he told his family he was “going into the open water to sail and do some fishing”, said his mother, Norma Davis, of Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The family had not heard from him since, she said.
“We expected him to come back and he did not return,” Ms. Davis said in a telephone interview. “We knew something happened. To us it’s just a miracle. We’re just so thrilled that he was found alive.”
Ms. Davis said Jordan’s father, her ex-husband Frank Jordan, spoke to their son after he was recovered by the Coast Guard and that in addition to injuring his shoulder he was dehydrated.
Mr. Jordan had spent months sanding and painting his docked 1950s-era, single-misted sailboat in Conway, where marina manager Jeff Weeks said he saw him nearly every day.
Mr. Jordan was the only resident in a section of about 20 boats docked behind a coded security gate, Mr. Weeks said.
Mr. Jordan appeared to be knowledgeable about wild fruits and mushrooms and fished for his meal in inland waterways, Mr. Weeks said. But his January trip may have been his first time sailing in the open ocean.
Records show that Mr. Jordan sailed out of the marina in Conway on January 23 aboard the sailboat Angel, said Marilyn Fajardo, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard’s 7th District.
The Coast Guard in Miami was notified by Frank Jordan on January 29 that he had not seen or heard from his son in a week. One week later, Ms. Davis confirmed their son was still missing.
A search was begun on February 8 but Ms. Fajardo said the Coast Guard abandoned its efforts after 10 days.
Despite reports from other sailors claiming to have seen Mr. Jordan’s sailboat, none of the sightings was confirmed.
Ms. Davis said she is looking forward to celebrating her son’s return.
“We do plan on having a wonderful Easter celebration with family and I can’t wait to get him back,” she said.
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