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Boaters and their dog rescued after 10 days at sea on voyage from New Jersey to Florida

Boaters reunited with families after spending 10 days lost at sea
Boaters reunited with families after spending 10 days lost at sea 02:36

NEW YORK -- On Staten Island, two men were reunited with their families Wednesday after a harrowing experience, lost at sea for days.

They say they were lost at sea with no water and little food. They were rescued with the help the United States Coast Guard and a watchful crew from aboard a commercial ship from Amsterdam.

Seventy-six-year-old Joe Ditomasso says he wasn't sure he'd live to see the moment the Coast Guard helped him and his friend, 65-year-old Kevin Hyde, get safely to shore.

"We didn't have no more water left, nothing. We were sucking water out of the water lines, cutting 'em just to get water. We didn't have water for two days," Ditomasso said.

The two friends left in late November for a trip from New Jersey to Florida on a 30-foot sailboat, along with a miniature poodle named Minnie.

The trip was going, in their words, "hunky dory." That is, until about a week and a half ago.

"A huge storm blew up and just blew us off, blew us off course. And I lost part of my mast, so I didn't have the power to make the turn, so by that time, we were just being pushed out to sea farther and farther," Hyde said.

Their families notified the Coast Guard on Sunday they hadn't heard from the men in a week, so the Coast Guard searched from Miami to Cape Cod and alerted commercial ships about their efforts.

Sure enough, the crew of the Silver Muna, carrying gasoline from Amsterdam to New York, spotted the men Tuesday on a sailboat 214 miles east of Delaware without fuel or power.

"For this captain to find us out there, it was more than a needle in a haystack," Ditomasso said.

Watch: Men rescued after being stranded at sea for 10 days discuss ordeal

Men rescued after being stranded at sea for 10 days discuss ordeal 31:40

"When I completed the rescue operation, I was literally crying. I was thanking my God, 'Thank God they are safe.' And Mr. Joe, I think he has cried 10 times on ship," said Neeraj Shaudhary, captain of the Silver Muna.

The Silver Muna crew brought them onboard and notified the Coast Guard, who immediately started arranging the efforts to complete their rescue.

"This is truly why we serve as a Coast Guard," said Capt. Zeita Merchant, Coast Guard Sector New York Commander.

Hyde says he the things that kept him going were his family and his will to make sure his friend, Ditomasso, survived.

And when we asked Ditomasso what motivated him?

"I have my granddaughter. I had a cross of Jesus. Every morning, I would wake up, kiss it and say the Our Father," he said.

Both men are healthy, and so is little Minnie. They're looking forward to spending the holidays with their families in Cape May, New Jersey.

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