Sailor missing for 66 days found off NC coast
Posted April 2, 2015
Updated April 3, 2015
Portsmouth, Va. — A man reported missing at sea by his family 66 days ago was rescued Thursday after other sailors spotted him 200 miles off the North Carolina coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said:
Louis Jordan, 37, was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Norfolk, Va., following the afternoon rescue.
Coast Guard members at the 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Va., said they were notified about 1:30 p.m. by sailors on the Houston Express, a German-flagged container ship, that they had seen a man on a vessel off the coast of Cape Hatteras and had taken him aboard.
Coast Guard members launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew about 3:40 p.m. to meet the Houston Express and take Jordan to the hospital.
Lt. Krystyn Pecora, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard's 5th district office, said Jordan had a shoulder injury, but she did not have any additional information about his condition.
Coast Guard officials said Jordan's family reported him missing Jan. 29. A website for the sailing community posted about Jordan on Feb. 15, asking sailors to be on the lookout for him and his vessel, a 35-foot Alberg called Angel.
According to the post, he was last seen at a marina in Conway, S.C., on Jan. 23.
Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said Jordan's 35-foot sailboat had lost its mast and capsized. The tanker crew said it found Jordan sitting on the hull.
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.
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," 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."
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.
"It's amazing," she said. "It's been very difficult not knowing anything and I just feel like all of our prayers have come true. They've been answered."
Jordan had spent months sanding and painting his docked 1950s-era, single-masted sailboat in Conway, where marina manager Jeff Weeks said he saw him nearly every day. Jordan was the only resident in a section of about 20 boats docked behind a coded security gate, Weeks said.
"You'll probably never meet a nicer guy," Weeks said. "He is a quiet gentleman that most of the time keeps to himself. He's polite. I would describe him as a gentle giant:" measuring 6-foot-2 and weighing 230 pounds.