Two American sailors and their dogs have been rescued, the US Navy said Thursday.
Jennifer Appel, Tasha Fuiaba and their two canines launched out from Hawaii this spring. They planned to travel some 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) south to Tahiti aboard a small sailboat.
Their engine broke down on May 30 during a bad weather but they thought they could continue to Tahiti using the wind.
"Two months into their journey and long past when they originally estimated they would reach Tahiti, they began to issue distress calls. The two continued the calls daily, but they were not close enough to other vessels or shore stations to receive them," the US Navy said.
After months of rice, pasta and oatmeal, the canines were likely looking forward to a change of diet
They were rescued by a US Navy ship some 900 miles southeast of Japan after a Taiwanese fishing vessel informed the US Coast Guard in Guam.
"I'm grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief," said Appel.
Video footage released by the US Navy shows one of the joyous sailors blowing kisses at the rescue ship, with two brown dogs wearing lifejackets barking on the sailboat deck.
Appel said they had survived months at sea by bringing water purifiers and a year's worth of mostly dry food.
All those onboard appeared to be healthy.
cw/rc (AFP, AP)