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Man, Adrift 17 Days, Survived on Flying Fish

July 11, 1986|United Press International

HONOLULU — The first mate of a fishing vessel that sank with eight people aboard June 21 was located Thursday on an island after drifting 17 days at sea while seeking help--surviving on raw flying fish that fell in his tiny boat.

Thomas Jacobson was located on the privately owned island of Niihau, known as "The Forbidden Island," 140 miles northwest of Honolulu, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

"He's in good shape. He even walked off the plane," said Coast Guard spokesman Bob Jones after Jacobson was brought to a Navy station near Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

Wandered Two Days

Jacobson landed on the cliff-lined south shore of Niihau Tuesday and wandered on the isolated island for two days before residents found him, Jones said.

Jacobson was the first mate of the West 1, which sank 580 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands on June 21. He went for help in a 16-foot motorboat the following day.

The other survivors spent two weeks at sea in a pair of life rafts. Six of them were rescued Saturday by a passing Navy ship, but the vessel's captain, Enrique Calderon, died less than 24 hours before the rescue.

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