weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Man lost at sea found, reconnects with son

HONOLULU — A Hawaii fisherman who rode out massive waves and survived on raw fish while lost at sea for 12 days said the ordeal was worthwhile because it led to him reconnecting with the son he’d lost touch with for years.

Ron Ingraham, 67, was rescued this week after putting out a mayday on Thanksgiving saying he was in danger of sinking. He had been trying to sail from Molokai, where he lives, to Lanai, where he often goes fishing.

But during the voyage that normally takes half a day, he got caught in a storm, which knocked out his engine and pummeled his boat with 20-foot waves. Ingraham recalled the details Thursday, the morning after returning to Molokai and spending the night in the docked vessel he survived in and calls home.

The Coast Guard launched an extensive search after getting his mayday. But officials decided to call off the search Dec. 1 and contacted his next of kin, 43-year-old son Zakary Ingraham in Missouri.

Regretting their 15 years or more of lost contact, Zakary Ingraham didn’t want to believe his father was gone.

Meanwhile, the fisherman was fighting to stay alive, eating mahi-mahi and tuna from the ocean.

“I lived off the moisture off the fish I caught,” Ron Ingraham said. “Mentally, physically and spiritually, I got my butt kicked.”

He eventually got weak and assumed he would die. “I thought this was it.”

Then on Tuesday morning, he tried a last-ditch effort. He stuck a wire hanger in his radio — which had lost its antenna to the storm — and managed to get off a garbled transmission that led to a Navy ship finding him.

“I look out the door, and there’s a battleship doing 38 knots coming right at me,” he said.

Crew members from the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton brought him aboard. They wanted to bring him to Honolulu and let his battered boat go.

“I live on that boat — that’s everything I got,” the fisherman said. “I go, ‘Listen, get me some food and water, and let me try to make it (to Molokai). I can’t leave my boat. Please.’”

The crew relented and coordinated with the Coast Guard to have the boat towed to Molokai.

“I want to put out a special thanks to that captain and that crew,” Ron Ingraham said. “These guys were so professional. They saved my life.”

He didn’t know any of his maydays were heard. He’s since learned about the search, even efforts to memorialize him on Molokai.

“There was a funeral planned for me this Saturday,” he said with a chuckle.

Those days and nights at sea made him think about the lost relationship with his son. Zakary Ingraham moved from the Big Island to Oahu with his mother at age 7, and eventually to the mainland.

The father and son grew apart, though each tried over the years to find the other.

On Thursday, the normally gruff-sounding fisherman got emotional when he talked about speaking to his son, who lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, on the phone the night before. It was their first conversation since the 1990s.

“I got a hold of my son, so that’s really huge,” Ron Ingraham said. “That’s a beautiful, beautiful part to this whole thing. It’s all I can do to stop from crying, thinking about the whole thing.”

The two are making plans for a reunion.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Susan G. Komen organization announces 30 grants

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, has awarded 30 new grants to researchers at 18 leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The $14 million in grants support the organization’s mission to end breast cancer through funding two key focus areas: research to better detect and treat stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer and research to eliminate disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Mob Month is back at the Clark County Library

For the fifth year the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is making an offer some people find they can’t refuse. Mob Month is coming back to the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, with events Tuesday nights in January.

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]