The story of two women from Hawaii rescued after being lost at sea for five months is beginning to seem incredible—as in difficult to believe. After they were picked up by the USS Ashland 900 miles southeast of Japan last week, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava said they faced storms and shark attacks and that there were times when they "absolutely" thought they would die. They didn't mention that they failed to use their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which would have immediately alerted rescuers to their location. A Coast Guard spokeswoman says the women claim they never used the emergency beacon because they never felt "truly in distress, like in a 24-hour period they were going to die."
Multiple other inconsistencies in the account have surfaced, including some that conflict with the "basic geography of the Pacific Ocean," the AP reports. The women say they departed Hawaii bound for Tahiti on May 3 and ran into a fearsome Force 11 storm the same day that "lasted for two nights and three days," but the National Weather Service says there were no storm systems near Hawaii around that time. The women have said their mast and motor failed, along with multiple methods of communication, though the Coast Guard says it made radio contact with their sailboat, the Sea Nymph, near Tahiti in June and they said they weren't in distress. One long-distance sailor tells People that many sailors find the women's story odd, because "there are so many holes in it that it just doesn't make any sense." (The two women are now back on land.)