- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2005

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The day that Josh Long and Troy Driscoll were rescued after nearly a week adrift at sea dawned with a perfect sunrise, a rainbow and dolphins capering around their tiny sailboat.

“It was amazing. [Saturday] morning something felt different, a lot different,” 17-year-old Josh said from his hospital bed yesterday. “I can honestly say I never gave up hope. God had us in his hands the whole time.”

After surviving on their faith, raw jellyfish and seawater for almost a week, the two saw a fishing boat on the horizon late Saturday. They were rescued off the North Carolina coast, more than 100 miles from where they set out in South Carolina to fish.

“I asked God, ‘If it’s your will that we not live, take us home,’” said 15-year-old Troy. “‘If not, send us a boat.’”

Josh and his best friend, both from North Charleston, S.C., were sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted, but otherwise in good shape. They were recovering yesterday at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The boys had set out to fish for shark near a sandbar a couple of dozen yards off Sullivans Island in their small sailboat April 24. Forecasters that day were warning boaters about rough conditions.

The current and blustery conditions soon pushed their tiny craft away from shore, and the teens knew they were in trouble. They lost their bait and later threw their fishing rods overboard, thinking there was no use for them.

Josh gargled with saltwater to keep his throat from getting dry, and Troy ate jellyfish, something his friend wouldn’t try.

“I saw them in the water and ate two little strings off of one and the next day I was fine,” Troy said. “It was nasty and the aftertaste made me nauseous.”

The boys huddled together at night and spent their days searching the horizon for help, praying and singing hymns.

The Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources searched off the coast for several days, but toward the end of the week, officials started referring to the search as a recovery operation.

“From all the conditions, they were telling us there was very little to no hope they would find the boys alive,” said Josh’s father, Eddie Long. “We never stopped believing. We always held out there was going to be a miracle.”

Troy’s father, Tony Driscoll, was the first to receive a call from the Coast Guard that the boys were all right.

“I screamed at the top of my lungs that they’ve got our boys,” he recalled. “We never gave up hope. That’s the bottom line. God had his angels around those boys the whole time.”

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