Happy ending holiday story

The survival at sea story of fisherman Ron Ingraham is a mixture of holiday miracle, doggedness and creative ingenuity.

Ingram was rescued last Tuesday after being lost for 12 harrowing days. Saturday, a planned memorial service was instead a celebration of his survival.

On Thanksgiving Day, Ingraham set sail on a planned half-day trip from Molokai to Lanai. A storm, though, brought 20-foot waves and knocked out his engine. Ingraham was able to get off a mayday signal that said he was in danger of sinking.

A massive search found nothing. The formal search was called off Dec. 1. The airwaves were silent. The storm had snapped off the antenna on the radio on Ingram’s fishing boat.

Then Tuesday, Ingraham made a makeshift antenna out of a coat hanger and sent out one last desperation mayday call. Incredibly, the call was heard and soon a Navy guided-missile destroyer found Ingraham.

Ingraham calls his fishing boat home and he convinced the Navy to allow him to remain on board while it was towed back to Molokai.

“I live on that boat – that’s everything I got,” Ingraham told a reporter for this paper.

Ingraham was generous with his gratitude.

“I want to put out a special thanks to that captain and that crew. These guys were so professional. They saved my life.”

He also had kind words for the general public, giving thanks to “all the people out there in Maui who were praying for me.

“I didn’t think anybody knew, but their prayers gave me the strength to not give up and carry on.”

Now Ingraham’s saga is being told around the world. His toughness, the competence of the Navy and the Coast Guard, and the prayers of the masses delivered a miraculous ending to this holiday story.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.