When Louis Jordan, 37, took his boat, “The Angel,” out “to do some fishing,” he planned to have a nice, brief trip, never dreaming he would be missing for over two months. He set out on Jan. 23 and was reported missing on Jan. 29. Searchers looked for him for ten days with no success, but last Thursday, a ship spotted him drifting off the North Carolina coast and contacted the Coast Guard.
The ship rescued him from his drifting boat. He was then picked up by a Coast Guard helicopter and taken to a hospital, where he was treated for dehydration and a shoulder injury before being released.
According to the Coast Guard, Jordan had neglected to file a “float plan,” which lists the route and destination a ship plans and would have enabled searchers to track him down sooner.
The manager of the marina where Jordan worked on his boat said Jordan probably wasn’t ready to sail on the open ocean. “He might sail up and down the Intercoastal Waterway, but he didn’t have the experience he needed to go out into the ocean,” Jeff Weeks, the manager, said.
Weeks remembered Jordan as a nice person to be around. “You’ll probably never meet a nicer guy,” Weeks said. “He is a quiet gentleman that most of the time keeps to himself. He’s polite. I would describe him as a gentle giant.” Jordan is 6’2” and weighed around 230 pounds before his ordeal.
Jordan described the accident, during which he suffered a broken collarbone. “My boat got flipped and did a 180 on me while I was sleeping at night, and I was flying through the air and somersaulting and all my junk and all my equipment, all my GPS devices and everything, even my stove dislodged and it was all flying with me, all rolling around,” he said.
During the ensuing 66-day ordeal, Jordan survived by collecting rainwater, frying pancakes, and catching fish with his clothes.
“Every ounce of energy, there was food. And I was limited on food,” he said.
Jordan said his faith helped him through the challenges he faced. He read his Bible and prayed, but his main concern was for his family and friends. “I was worried about them more than anything else,” he said.
His family was deeply concerned as well. “I’m so glad you’re alive,” Frank Jordan, Louis’ father, said to his son on the phone shortly after his rescue. “We prayed, and prayed, and hoped you were still alive. I thought I lost you.”
During the long wait, Frank Jordan had written a poem dedicated to his son. Part of the poem read, “life is not to be taken for granted, / no accident, experiment or joke.”
Jordan had told his family he was “going into the open water to sail and do some fishing,” said his mother, Norma Davis. “We expected him to come back and he did not return. We knew something happened. To us it’s just a miracle. We’re just so thrilled that he was found alive.”
“We do plan on having a wonderful Easter celebration with family and I can’t wait to get him back,” she said.
As for Jordan? He said he would like to have “organic ice cream” to celebrate his return.
Ashland high school students Hannah Thomas-Garner and Sylvia Davis went missing nearly three months ago after attending a rural-area party. Police located Davis mere days after her disappearance, yet Thomas-Garner reunited with family only this week.
Thomas-Garner called her father, Jeff Garner, from Santa Cruz, California on Saturday.
“She called me and said, ‘dad I’m sorry, I put everyone through this,’” said Jeff Garner. “She said ‘I’m safe and I’m ready to come home,’ and I bought a ticket, and then I flew to Santa Cruz, and I picked her up and we are now together.”
According to police investigations, the two girls planned to run away with a third Ashland teen in November. The third girl eventually decided not to run away.
In December, Thomas-Garner’s car was found in Shasta City, California. She was later spotted hitchhiking on Interstate 5 near Dunsmuir, California, south of where her car was found.
Her disappearance surprised her parents, who described her as a good student, fond of drawing and photography.
Currently reunited with her father, Thomas-Garner has yet to release further comment.
Four years ago, 7-year-old best friends Mai Frandsen and Mae Rainey were adopted from a southern Chinese orphanage into families on opposite sides of the U.S. Now 11 years old, the girls both received treatment at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California for a genetic blood disease.
The girls share thalassemia, a genetic blood disease that inhibits the body’s ability to produce oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. Without blood transfusions, patients with the disease will become severely anemic and may die.
“If they don’t get transfusions, children will die in the first few years of life,” said Dr. Ash Lal. Lal runs the thalassemia clinical program at the Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The girls’ health improved with their new families, as obtaining adequate blood transfusions in China for orphans can be difficult. Many adopted children with the disease who didn’t received treatment have additional problems such as organ damage or growth impairment. The Oakland hospital opened a special clinic for adopted Chinese children with the genetic disease to help them recover.
After Mae was adopted in November of 2011 by the Rainey family in Charlotte, N.C., she mentioned life in foster care and the orphanage frequently, especially her friend “Sing-Sing.”
“For 3½ years, she would say to us, ‘Do you think we’ll ever find Sing-Sing?’” said Bryan Rainey, Mae’s father.
Rainey and his wife Robin didn’t know who Sing-Sing was, whether that was her real name, or if she would even keep the same name if she was adopted.
Mai was adopted in May of 2013. Both of the girls were given new names upon adoption; the fact that they were given the same name is a coincidence.
Mae eventually required a bone marrow transplant to cure her disease. In the process of finding a donor match, her family found Mai on the same list. The parents exchanged photos and the girls recognized each other immediately.
“Mae said that’s her. That’s her best friend,” Bryan Rainey said.
When the girls first talked over the computer, they were shy and quiet. Their parents realized they would both be at the Oakland hospital and decided to meet there.
The meeting was awkward at first and both girls were nervous, later calling their meeting “weird.”
“At first you don’t know what to say. This is a stranger to you,” said Mae. But by the next morning, it was as though they’d never been apart, and they said they’ll be friends forever.
“They were both really nervous,” said Heather Frandsen, Mai’s mother. “I don’t know if my Mai really believed it was going to happen. But when we got back to the room that night, after they met, her whole demeanor changed. I think when Mae left the orphanage, that was really traumatic for my Mai. I think Mae was her person. You know, that one person who means everything.”
As for the girls, they never thought they’d see each other again and are thrilled to be together.
“It’s just crazy,” Mae said. “You know, in Chinese, mei-mei means sister.”
Penny the missing pup was reunited with her worried Washington state owners this week after a cross-country trek since mid-December that led her to the Pittsburgh area.
Kendra Brown and her husband picked up their 7-month old Vizsla on Friday after a free ride home from U.S. carrier Alaska Airlines.
Kendra and Colt Brown said a truck driver picked up their dog near their home in central Washington thinking she was a stray.
“When she went missing, we thought she ran off and we were never going to see her again. We’re just happy knowing she’s alive,” Kendra Brown, Penny’s owner, told Pittsburgh broadcaster WPXI. “I’m sure if she could talk, she’d have quite a few adventures to talk about.”
The driver dropped her off at an animal clinic where a technician scanned her for a microchip and discovered she was lost.
The Browns had created a Facebook page called “Bring Penny Home For Christmas” in an effort to locate their dog.
Alaska Airlines learned about the dog on December 26 and was “flying Penny home complimentary” from a District of Columbia area airport to Seattle on January 2, a spokeswoman said.
The Browns greeted Penny at the airport with kisses and treats.
High school students Hannah Thomas-Garner, 17, and Sylvia Davis, 15, went missing earlier this week.
Thomas-Garner was reported missing after she failed to return home from a party on Sunday, November 30. The following day, police found her car in Shasta City, California.
Since then, the teen was spotted hitchhiking on Interstate 5 near Dunsmuir, California, south of where her car was found. Surveillance footage from a convenience store in Redding shows a girl believed to be Thomas-Garner.
The runaway is described as blond with blue eyes, 5 feet 6 and 137 pounds. Her disappearance surprised her parents, who described her as a good student, fond of drawing and photography. The girl was recently diagnosed with a kidney infection and needs medication.
According to classmates, Davis also planned to run away prior to her disappearance earlier this week. Police are unsure whether or not Davis planned to travel with Thomas-Garner. No sightings of Davis have been reported.
Davis is 5 feet 9 inches tall, 105 pounds. She has dyed black dreadlocks and hazel eyes.
Officials ask that anyone with information on Thomas-Garner or Davis call the Ashland police department at 541-482-5211.