The two women who were plucked from a sailboat in the Pacific had an emergency beacon that was never activated, officials revealed Monday.
Despite claiming they were adrift for five months, the U.S. Coast Guard says survivors Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava revealed during interviews that they had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that they never turned on.
In a phone interview with Inside Edition’s Ann Mercogliano on Tuesday, Appel defended their decision not to use the beacon.
“The emergency beacon is for people who are going to die within 24 hours and we were not in that position,” she said.
Her claims come despite press conferences in which she said they had been concerned for their lives when they were found. When Mercogliano asked why they didn’t use the beacon considering those concerns, Appel said, “We probably should have.”
This revelation, and others, have some experts questioning some details of the women’s account that don’t fully add up.
One detail, according to retired Coast Guard officer Phillip R. Johnson, is the women’s statement that they had six communications devices aboard their 50-foot sailboat, the Sea Nymph, but all of them failed.
“There’s something wrong there,” Johnson told The Associated Press.
“Did you want to be rescued during the time you were out at sea?” Mercogliano asked Appel.
“Yes,” Appel said.
The women said they set off from Hawaii on May 3 en route to Tahiti and other Pacific islands and told authorities they quickly encountered a powerful tropical storm.
However, meteorologists say there was no severe weather along their route during that time.
When Mercogliano asked her about these reports, Appel said, “I am at a complete loss, but I will find the data.”
What followed the storm, according to Appel, was a series of decisions to keep going as they passed up several small ports in which to land.
Despite having a broken mast, Appel said she and Fuiava decided to press on to the Cook Islands. It was then, around the end of May, when the sailors say their motor became damaged and they were left adrift.
Five months passed before they were picked up in the Pacific, about 900 miles southeast of Japan.
Though thousands of miles off course and five months into a trip that was originally planned to span only weeks at sea, the women and their two dogs were all in good health when picked up by the U.S. Navy.
The Coast Guard said their review of the case is ongoing but there is no criminal investigation being conducted at this time.
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