The story told by two women who were recently found after being lost at sea for five months continues to get stranger. Now, the pair are saying that their initial rescuers on a Taiwanese fishing vessel were out to kill them.
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava’s boat was located in the Pacific Ocean near Japan in late October after that Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them and alerted authorities. It had been over five months since they departed their home of Hawaii with a plan to sail to Tahiti, and they told of a journey plagued with misfortunes — including a severe storm causing their phone to go overboard on the first day, a lost engine, and a broken mast. The pair also said that their distress calls went unanswered.
Shortly afterward, several inconsistencies came to light. For starters, the National Weather Service in Honolulu didn’t have any record of that first storm they mentioned. They also never turned on their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon — which would have led to a quicker rescue — because they “never felt like they were truly in distress.”
Appel and Fuiava defended their story during a Today show appearance, then came back to NBC News with a detail that makes the whole situation feel even more off. Appel’s line is now that the Taiwanese boat rammed into them on purpose and that she alerted the U.S. Coast Guard herself.
“While the media portrayed a rescue with the Taiwanese fishing vessel, they were actually the reason why we called for help,” Appel said. “The Taiwanese fishing vessel was not planning to rescue us. They tried to kill us during the night.”
“I was able to get on a surfboard and get on their boat, make an actual phone call. Because no one spoke English, it was easier and safer for me to relay the information to the U.S. Coast Guard-Guam sector that we were in danger without them realizing what we were saying,” she continued. “If I had thrown the EPIRB at that point, he [the captain] would have known.”
Appel also claimed, “We were never ‘lost at sea.’ We knew where we were the entire time.”