Rescued New Jersey boaters recall being lost at sea: 'It sounded like the devil was out there'

Kevin Hyde and Joe Ditomasso, who left Cape May in a 30-foot sailboat, returned to New York safely Wednesday night.

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Thursday, December 15, 2022
Missing NJ boaters return safely after being lost at sea
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Kevin Hyde and Joe Ditomasso, who left Cape May, New Jersey on Nov. 27 in a 30-foot sailboat, returned to New York safely Wednesday night. CeFaan Kim has more on their journey.

STATEN ISLAND, New York -- Two missing sailors from New Jersey, who were lost at sea for more than a week after heading to Florida, are now sharing their journey upon returning to land and reuniting with their families.

Kevin Hyde, 65, Joe Ditomasso, 76, and their dog named "Minnie" returned safely to New York City Wednesday night.

Not only were they dry, but they were also in good spirits as their long and dangerous journey finally came to an end.

"My granddaughter and the cross of Jesus. Every morning I'd wake up and kiss it and say the Our Father. And if nobody does not believe there's a Lord, they have a problem," Ditomasso said.

SEE ALSO: Missing boaters who left Cape May en route to Florida found safe off Delaware

Ditomasso said he thought he would never see his family again.

The 76-year-old along with his friend Kevin Hyde and their dog were rescued Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard, roughly 214 miles east of Delaware.

"If you look at the size of his ship and the size of the ocean, compared to this toothpick I'm floating around in, just to be able to spot that, because of the diligence of his crew," Hyde said.

Chopper video captured the Silver Muna crossing under the Verrazzano Bridge to reunite the boaters with their families Wednesday night.

The commercial tanker was carrying fuel from Amsterdam to New York when its crew somehow spotted them.

"God send our Silver Muna ship to save them because we didn't receive any distress signal, nothing," Silver Muna Captain Neerah Chaudhary said. "My second officer just noticed there was something."

Capt. Zeita Merchant, New York commander of the Coast Guard Sector, said it was a massive rescue effort.

It spanned over 2,100 square miles, from Miami to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The boaters departed Cape May, New Jersey, where they are from, on November 27 on a 30-foot sailboat headed for Florida.

They lost communication on December 3 in North Carolina. Ten days later they were off course. Way off course.

They had no fuel, no power, no radios, no navigation, and little food.

"We didn't have no more water left nothing," Ditomasso said. "We were sucking water out of the water lines. Cutting them just to get water. We didn't have water for two days. And Minn, we had to stop her from drinking. She wanted to drink everything."

Hyde said they turned south in Hatteras when a huge storm blew them off course. The sailors lost part of their mast.

"Once we cut that mast off, 40-foot seas. There were mountains, I was watching them," Ditomasso said. "I never heard a wind so bad. It sounded like the devil was out there."

When asked if they would do it all again -- they had mixed answers.

"Sure, why not. I'm not dead yet," Hyde said.

"No. I'm staying closer to shore," Ditomasso said.

Ditomasso had a special family member to thank for keeping him alive.

"All I asked the Lord was to see my granddaughter," he said.

Christmas with the family is what the two sailors said they are looking forward to the most now that they are back on land.