Questions have been raised over the story of two Hawaii women who say they were lost at sea for six months – after it emerged they never activated their emergency beacon, sailed past an inhabited island and were caught in a seemingly non-existent storm. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fiava were rescued by the US Navy 900 miles southeast of Japan last Wednesday after setting sail from Hawaii on May 3.They told a harrowing tale of survival after their rescue, but many of their claims have now been called into question including:
- The woman claimed they did not have a standard Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on their vessel. The Coast Guard found one on board and say it was never activated.
- The ‘Force 11 storm’ they claimed they encountered at the start of their journey, featuring 30-foot high seas and 60 mph winds over three days, was not recorded by meteorologists
- They claim that they considered turning back after the storm but could not because the islands of Maui and Lanai did not have harbors deep enough for their boat. There are several places they could have docked
- They also claim that, days later, they could not stop at a nearby island to fix their boat because it was ‘uninhabited’ – but Christmas Island, part of Kiribati, is home to over 2,000 people and often welcomes huge commercial ships
- Instead of stopping at Christmas Island, they set a new destination of 1,000 miles away in the Cook Islands – also hundreds of miles beyond their original destination of Tahiti
- When off Tahiti in June, the captain of the ship was reported to have told the Coast Guard they were fine and expected to land next morning – but months later they ended up in the western Pacific