Two American women lost at sea have been found after five months. As NBC News shared, 48-year-old Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava were recovered by a Taiwanese fishing boat about 900 miles southeast of Japan on Wednesday morning Japan time.
"When I saw the gray boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew that we were about to be saved," Appel shared with TODAY. "I honestly believed that we were about to die within the next 24 hours."
Back in late May, the two women left from Oahu for Tahiti, which was about 2,600 miles away. The trek should have taken about a month to complete. Although the women came equipped with plenty of food and water purifiers, they soon faced issues with their sailboat.
A piece of the mast called a spreader failed, which limited the vessel's ability to maneuver properly. On May 30, a storm flooded the engine, and the boat's communications were impacted.
The two women desperately tried to make distress calls for 98 days straight, but communications were out of range. They also tried to fire at least 10 flares and contact other ships, but didn't get a response.
"I could see light and I could see vessels, and once you get closer, we thought it would be close enough to do a [distress] call," Fuiava said. "When they would turn and keep going, yeah, it was kind of sad."
They said that during this, their ship was also attacked by tiger sharks.
"They could smell us," feared Appel.
Eventually, the Taiwanese fishing boat rescued the women, along with their two dogs, Zeus and Valentine.
"It was incredibly emotional, and it was so satisfying to know the men and women that serve our country would come and assist us — it was actually quite mind blowing and incredibly humbling," Appel said.
The two women are upbeat after the rescue and are planning their next excursion. Their sailboat is currently adrift, but they hope it can be repaired.
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