By Elahe Izadi December 10 "The Coast Guard had called off the search nine days earlier.
The missing boater’s friends had planned his memorial service.
Then, on Tuesday, the unbelievable happened in the waters off the Hawaiian island of Oahu: Ron Ingraham was found alive — and adrift — in his 25-foot sailboat.
It was Thanksgiving Day when Ingraham set sail from his home on Molokai to Lanai, according to Hawaii News Now.
It was a routine trip for the experienced 67-year-old sailor, CNN reported.
But his boat, Malia, began taking on water, and Ingraham made a distress call for help, saying his vessel was in danger of sinking, according to the Coast Guard.
That initial distress call and a second one later in the day prompted a massive search that involved helicopters and planes and covered 12,000 square miles. But nothing turned up.
A few days later, on Dec. 1, the Coast Guard called off the search.
“When the commanding officer for the Coast Guard told me he was going to call off the search, I said, ‘Man, I don’t think you should call off the search because I don’t think he’s gone,’ ” Ingraham’s son Zakary told Hawaii News Now.
Still, the suspension of the search seemed to signal the inevitable, and Ingraham’s friends began preparations for a memorial service. It was scheduled for this coming Saturday, they told KITV.
But 12 days after Ingraham dropped off the map, another distress call came through.
“We got a mayday here. Mayday. This is the Malia,” Ingraham was heard saying Tuesday morning. “Anybody picking this up?”
The Coast Guard heard the call, which was made 64 miles south of Honolulu. The USS Paul Hamilton, a guided-missile destroyer, was just 14 miles away from Ingraham at the time, according to the Coast Guard. About an hour after his call for help, the Navy ship reported that Ingraham was “weak, hungry and dehydrated.” But he was alive, and without injuries."