Two Americans and their two dogs set out to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti in the spring, but after their engine died in bad weather May 30, they were forced to use only the ship's sails to attempt to get back to land. Instead, they drifted in the Pacific Ocean for five months before they were finally rescued Wednesday, CBS News reports. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava started issuing distress signals every day after they'd been at sea two months, but no other vessels were close enough to hear them. As they drifted off course—they were ultimately found 900 miles southeast of Japan, almost 5,000 miles from their original destination, per ABC News—they survived by using water purifiers for drinking water and eating the year's supply of dry food they had on board.
They were discovered by a fishing ship from Taiwan Tuesday, and the US Navy's USS Ashland, which was in the area, helped with the rescue. "I'm grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief," Appel says in a Navy statement. The group will remain on the Ashland until its next port of call.