Ron Ingraham was able to find sustenance during 12 days lost at sea—"I'm a fisherman, so I caught fish," the Hawaii man tells ABC News—but he might never have seen land again if he hadn't been able to make a distress call. He somehow pieced together a makeshift radio out of a coat hanger and some wire to place a mayday call to the Coast Guard, which had stopped looking for the 67-year-old more than a week earlier, reports NBC News. The radio on his 25-foot sailboat was wrecked by the same rogue wave that broke both his masts, Ingraham says. "I thought I was going to die," Ingraham said after he was picked up by a Navy boat on Tuesday. "I hung in there. It took mental discipline. But these guys are real heroes and they save people's lives. I owe it all to them."
The fish he survived on "wasn't as good as a sushi bar, but that's how I hydrated," says Ingraham, who kissed the ground when he made it back to Hawaii yesterday. His son Zakary says his father "managed to MacGyver a way to make that last call, and it saved his life." The 43-year-old lives in Missouri with his family and hasn't seen his father for more than 15 years. "I always wanted to find him and get in touch with him," he tells the AP, but since his father lives on a boat and has no email address or phone number, that wasn't an easy task. But now, he says, "I'm going to do everything I can to get out there as soon as possible."