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31 October 2017, 12:44 | Rose Hansen
Zues one of the sailor's dogs is brought aboard the USS Ashland by Navymen after they were called to rescue a stranded sailboat
The US Navy came to their rescue as they were stranded on a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for almost five months.
In a phone call with news media from the Ashland, Appel said they had sent a distress signal for 98 days with no response, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The USS Ashland rescued the women after a Taiwanese fishing boat spotted their crippled yacht on Tuesday and alerted the US Coast Guard, the Navy said in a statement.
"I honestly believed we were going to die within the next 24 hours", Appel said.
Despite the ordeal, the pair said there were positive moments, such as when they fixed their broken water purifier and used their long days adrift to learn more about the sea and the weather.
"We would be lying if we didn't say that two women in a close space of 500 feet didn't get into it every once in awhile, but we didn't catfight or pull hair-we just threatened to throw each other overboard!"
"Thank God we've been rescued", Appel said, according to CNN affiliate KHON. She said they first ran into challenges May 30.
"We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught".
But the two sailors, accompanied by their faithful pets, were resourceful and prepared with more than a year's worth of food.
"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", she said.
Following a joint operation by Japanese, Taiwanese and US teams, a US Navy ship reached the sailors on Wednesday morning - and rescued them after their boat was deemed "unseaworthy".
"The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation", Cmdr. Steven Wasson, the commanding officer of the USS Ashland.
Although Appel has been sailing the Hawaiian islands for 10 years and spent two years preparing for this voyage, she acknowledged she and Fuiava, a novice sailor, may not have prepared as well as they could have. They often had to get creative, such as when two of their watermakers (a device that turns salt water into drinking water) failed, and they combined working pieces from each of the machines to make a functioning one. "So she had several problems that caused her to end up drifting in the ocean", the elder Appel said.
The sailboat was deemed unseaworthy and is now drifting out at sea, a Navy spokesman said during the call from the Ashland.
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