Washington, April 5 (IANS/EFE) US sailor Louis Jordan was released on Saturday from a Virginia hospital, where he had been admitted after being lost on the Atlantic Ocean for 66 days and later rescued by the US Coast Guard off the coast of North Carolina.
The sailor, 37, had sailed last January from a marina in South Carolina on a 35-foot sailboat to go fishing on the high seas, but days later went adrift after the mast of his sailboat broke and the electric system was damaged, Coast Guard spokesperson Krystyn Pecora said on Saturday.
The sailor was reported missing by his family last January 29, and after three days of intense searching, the Coast Guard felt it could do no more and called off the rescue attempt.
Almost two months later, Jordan was sighted on Thursday afternoon some 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras off the coast of North Carolina by an German freighter, whose crew rescued him and alerted the Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard team picked the sailor up from the German freighter with a helicopter and flew him to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was admitted suffering dehydration and an injured shoulder.
"I was amazed on first impression," Petty Officer Kyle McCollum, a member of the rescue team, said about Jordan, who refused further treatment at the medical centre and left the hospital under his own steam early on Saturday morning to join his family.
According to Pecora, Jordan managed to survive by rationing the food he had aboard, fishing with a net and collecting rainwater.
"For such a long a time, I was so thirsty. And I was almost out of water, and everyday I was like, 'please, God, send me some rain, send me some water,'" the sailor said on WAVY television, adding that "finally, right before I ran out of water, finally the conditions were perfect," and he was able to collect rainwater.
While being transported on the helicopter, the sailor told Coast Guard officers that his two best allies during his more than 60 days adrift on the Atlantic were the Bible, which he read from cover to cover more than once, and a blanket that he used to protect himself from the sun.
Until shortly before sailing on his ill-fated fishing trip, Jordan lived on his sailboat anchored at the Bucksport Plantation Marina in Conway, South Carolina.
According to spokespersons for his family, Jordan will stay an unspecified amount of time with one of his parents, who are separated.