Boater found alive at sea nearly two weeks after reported missing

Boater found alive at sea nearly two weeks after reported missing
Ron Ingram
Ron Ingram
Ron Ingram returned to Molokai on Wednesday
Ron Ingram returned to Molokai on Wednesday

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update 12/10 at 8:45 a.m.]

Missing boater Ron Ingram returned to Molokai, safe and sound.

[Original story]

Twelve days after he made a distress call from his sailboat and dropped off the map, Ron Ingram suddenly surfaced with a distress call.

"We got a mayday here. Mayday. This is the Malia. Anybody picking this up?" he said.

It was picked up by the Coast Guard at 7:55 Tuesday morning.

"Great job by the command center to hear it, you know, recognize it," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr said.

The coordinates placed Ingram 64 miles south of Oahu, and three miles from the Navy Destroyer USS Paul Hamilton. It reached him and rendered aid. In St. Joseph, MO, Zakary Ingraham's telephone rang.

"They said, 'Well, we found your dad. He's alive and well on his boat.' For him to be found is awesome. I can't believe it," he said.

Ron Ingram was sailing from Molokai to Lanai. On Thanksgiving day he radioed that his 25-foot vessel was taking on water. A 12,000 square-mile search found nothing. It was suspended December 1.

"When the commanding officer for the Coast Guard told me he was going to call off the search, I said, 'Man, I don't think you should call off the search because I don't think he's gone,'" Zakary Ingram said.

The 67-year-old Ingram is an experienced fisherman who lives on Molokai. The Coast Guard said he was hungry and thirsty when the Navy reached him and his sailboat.

"Both his masts was broken. He was sailing on a little auxiliary sail, trying to make his way back," Molokai fisherman and Ingram's friend Dedrick Manaba said.

Carr said the Coast Guard would either escort Ingram to Molokai if he could fix his sailboat at sea, or bring him to Honolulu if repairs couldn't be made.

"A lot of joy around the command center to know that, okay, he's alive and he's going to be okay," Carr said.

Ingram was found about 80 miles from the where his Thanksgiving mayday call was made. It's still a mystery how he survived at sea.

"Twelve days, man. He's a champ! He's tough!" Zakary Ingram said of his father.

It appears that toughness saved him.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.