When Louis Jordan was lost at sea for 66 days, one thing kept his hope alive: the Bible he remembered to bring
NORFOLK, VA—In late January, 37-year old Louis Jordan sailed out of the marina in Conway, South Carolina, for a relaxing weekend fishing trip. But one stormy night, he woke up to fierce gusts of wind and enormous waves crashing against his small sailboat…the cabin filling with water. Louis held on for dear life, but when the skies cleared, he found himself stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a broken collarbone, damaged electronics, no mast and little hope.
When Louis didn’t make contact for days, his father, Frank, stricken with worry, reported him missing to the Coast Guard. Louis’s devastated family prayed constantly for his safe return, but with no sight of him or his boat, they began to assume the worst.
In the meantime, Louis rationed supplies, collected rainwater and fished to sustain himself, but his struggle was more than physical—it was spiritual. With no idea when or if he would ever see his loved ones again, all Louis could do was pray and read the Bible—something he always kept on hand—to keep from being overcome with despair. “When you hear about people surviving for a long time in harder conditions, they always have the Bible,” Louis says. “There’s power in that like nothing else—it kept my hope alive.”
Sixty-six days after he was lost at sea, a passing cargo ship found Louis severely dehydrated and on his last can of food, 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina. In an emotional phone call from the Coast Guard rescue vessel, Louis heard his father’s voice for the first time in months. Louis began to apologize for making his whole family worry, but his father quickly chased away his remorse. “We prayed and prayed and we hoped that you were still alive so that’s all that matters,” Frank says. “That’s the only thing that matters.”
Early Good Friday morning, Louis’s parents saw what they believed they would never see again: their son, alive and well, walking out of the hospital right into their open arms. The name of Louis’s boat? Angel.
Louis leaving the rescue helicopter; Photo credit: AP Images
Louis entering the hospital with the rescue crew; Photo credit: AP Images