When the US Coast Guard told Zakary Ingraham that the search for his dad was being called off on Dec. 1, his gut told him it was the wrong move. "I said, 'Man, I don't think you should call [off] the search because I don't think he's gone,'" Zakary recalls to KHNL. Turns out he was right: Ron Ingraham, 67, was picked up in his boat 64 miles south of Honolulu yesterday after falling off the map on Thanksgiving during a sailing trip from Molokai to Lanai, NBC News reports. Ron, an experienced boater, had placed two distress calls that day saying that Malia, his 25-foot sailboat, was being flooded with water and might be sinking. Though the Coast Guard flew over 12,000 square miles of open sea in search of the missing boater, it made what it called "one of the most difficult decisions" to halt the search a few days after the first mayday.
Then yesterday, 12 days after his last contact, Ron's voice floated over the radio waves again: "We got a mayday here. Mayday. This is the Malia. Anybody picking this up?" A US Navy ship tracked down the boat and Ron about an hour after his call came in; he was roughly 80 miles from his initial mayday location. According to a Coast Guard press release, he was "weak, hungry, and dehydrated" but also "alive and uninjured." Both masts of his boat were damaged, and he was using a tiny spare sail to try to make his way back to land, a friend tells KHNL. There are no details yet on how Ron made it out on the ocean for that long, but his son is just glad he's back. "Twelve days, man. He's a champ! He's tough!" Zakary tells KHNL. (A 77-year-old sailor missing more than a week was found off the coast of Florida.)