Skip to main content

VIDEO: 'I got really lucky'

A fisherman and his 25-foot sailboat were safely transferred on Tuesday by the Coast Guard to the Hawaiian island of Molokai after the sailor spent 12 days lost at sea.

Ron Ingraham, 67, was last heard from when he placed two mayday calls Nov. 27, saying his boat, Malia, was taking on water and in danger of sinking 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona. He would later tell rescuers that he was broadsided by a rogue wave that destroyed his radio and knocked him out of the boat. He grabbed a line and pulled himself back aboard, he said.

Although nearly two weeks had passed, his family held out hope for his rescue and searchers continued to patrol off Hawaii until they received a mayday call Ingraham made by creating a makeshift radio repair with a coat hanger and some wire?.

“I got really lucky,” he told NBC News.

He was found uninjured aboard Malia 64 miles south of Honolulu. Coast Guard officials described Ingraham as "weak, hungry and dehydrated," according to a report by ABC News. He was otherwise in good shape, though, and easily stepped off his boat onto the Coast Guard rescue boat.

"How are you gentlemen doing?" Ingraham asked, as seen in the video.

Ingraham said he survived on fish. "I'm a fisherman, so I caught fish; it wasn't as good as a sushi bar, but that's how I hydrated," he said.

Ingraham was taken aboard the 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Kiska to Molokai with Malia in tow. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser offered the most in-depth account of how Ingraham survived.