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Sailor rescued after eight days adrift

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 26 Dec 2012
Kenneth Putney’s yacht being towed by fishermen who discovered him at sea SW
His best Christmas present was a rescue by some fishermen after drifting for eight days aboard his disabled sailing boat. American sailor Kenneth Putney, 54, of Florida, was steering Captain Force, which was one of three boats, two tug boats towing a yacht, making their way from the Philippines to Thailand when they encountered a severe storm.

The tow line parted during the storm, and Putney boarded the yacht to ensure that it would not be lost. Because of the storm conditions he then became separated from the other two boats. Once the storm was over, he found himself isolated in the ocean as the radio, GPS and other electronic systems on the yacht were inoperable. There was also no fuel or food on the yacht.

After eight days in survival mode, he was found by some Vietnamese fishermen 15nm off the the coast. Fisherman Trieu Van Oai spotted Putney waving for help and went to his aid. Mr Oai then had to summon the assistance of two other fishing boats to tow the yacht to shore.

By the time he was found by the fishermen, he was so hungry he ate three packs of Mama instant noodles, without even being boiled, according to Vietnamnet.

Coastguard Vo Hoang Liet, of the southern Soc Trang province, said Mr Putney was in good condition after being rescued, and added that the American will be handed over to the U.S. embassy.


The sailing route between Thailand and the Philippines is known as a potentially dangerous route and authorities have said that to make such a journey without adequate planning can be deadly - which it could have been for this unfortunate sailor.

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