Mariner Rescued After Nearly 2 Weeks Lost At Sea, Colleague Still Missing

(Public/Facebook/Screenshsot/User: Ry Guy Planes)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Two Canadian fishermen rescued an American mariner lost at sea for 13 days Thursday before handing him over to the Canadian Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said in a statement.

The “good Samaritans” spotted the mariner in a life raft off the coast of Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada, approximately 70 miles northwest of Cape Flattery in Washington, the USCG said. The mariner’s colleague, however, remains missing, per the statement.

The two mariners sailed in a 43-foot vessel from Westport in Grays Harbor, Washington, Oct. 12, reportedly intending to return Oct. 15. The pair was not heard from as of Oct. 24, triggering an eight-hour search spanning over 14,000 miles which was eventually suspended Oct. 25, the USCG said in a separate statement.

A video of the handover to the Canadian Coast Guard emerged on social media. “There you go, buddy,” said one of the rescuers to the mariner. “Thanks a lot, guys,” the mariner replied. One of the fishermen, Ryan Planes, appeared to have shared the video.

“I couldn’t believe it, I just thought it was sea garbage,” Ryan Planes told CTV News of the moment when he and the others spotted the mariner. “Just ran in and grabbed the binoculars and I looked at him and I could see him waving his paddle around,” he added. (RELATED: Video Shows Coast Guard Rescuing Man From Partially Submerged Boat Days After He Disappeared)

“Once he climbed on board, he just looked at me and gave me a big hug and he started crying,” John Planes, Ryan’s uncle, told CTV News. The men made him an egg and a bacon cheese sandwich as he was reportedly too weak to stand. The mariner reportedly said his boat sank with the other mariner in bad weather, per the outlet.

“That’s truly like a needle in a haystack,” Steve Strohmaier, USCG spokesperson, told CTV News. “It’s a one-in-a-million chance to find a life raft out there in that huge open ocean.” An investigation into what might have happened was underway, he added.

The USCG rescued two Canadians from a sinking vessel 80 miles off the coast of Neah Bay, Washington on Oct. 10.