Miracle Rescue: Lost at Sea for 10 Days, Man Prayed the Our Father Each Morning

Joe Ditomasso, 76, and Kevin Hyde, 65, were headed from New Jesery to the Florida Keys, but then a massive storm accosted them.

Joe Ditomasso and Kevin Hyde, along with their canine companion, Minnie, were lost at sea for 10 days and rescued on Dec. 13.
Joe Ditomasso and Kevin Hyde, along with their canine companion, Minnie, were lost at sea for 10 days and rescued on Dec. 13. (photo: WABC News screen shot / via CNA)

When Joe Ditomasso, 76, and Kevin Hyde, 65, boarded their 30-foot sailboat in Cape May, New Jersey, and headed for the Florida Keys, the two friends were looking forward to an adventure.

As things would turn out, what began as a joyful sailing trip begun on Thanksgiving weekend unexpectedly became a living nightmare.

Suddenly, the sky darkened, and their small boat was buffeted by a massive storm. High winds and giant waves rocked the boat, snapping its mast. The two men and their canine companion, Minnie, were lost at sea, with very little food and water, no fuel and no power to operate radios and navigation equipment.

What kept Ditomasso going? “My granddaughter. And the cross of Jesus.”

That they survived and were rescued 10 days later is being called a “miracle.” For Ditomasso, it was an answer to the prayers he said every morning.

Ditomasso told ABC7: “Every morning I’d wake up and kiss [the cross] and say the Our Father. And if nobody does not believe there’s a Lord, they have a problem,” he said.

‘We Were Mentally Preparing for the Worst’

The journey became dangerous for the men when a major storm blew them off course while off the coast of North Carolina, ABC7 reported.

“Once we cut that mast off, 40-foot seas. There were mountains; I was watching them,” Ditomasso said, according to the outlet.

“I never heard a wind so bad. ... It sounded like the devil was out there.”

“We didn’t have no more water left, nothing,” he 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.”

The last contact between the men and their families and friends at home was on Dec. 3. The longer the silence, the more nervous the families became.

“We were mentally preparing for the worst,” Ditomasso’s daughter, Nina DiTomasso, 37, told USA Today.

On Dec. 11, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and maritime partners embarked on a search for the men that spanned 21,164 square miles of waters from New Jersey to northern Florida.

And that’s when a “Christmas miracle,” happened, Nina DiTomasso said.

An Answer to Prayers

On Dec. 13, the men spotted a 600-foot tanker vessel and began frantically waving their arms and a flag.

When they were spotted, the tanker brought both the men and Minnie aboard to safety.

“We all just started screaming when we heard the news, crying and cheering because it was just so unbelievable,” Nina DiTomasso told USA Today. She said that the men were exhausted and could barely speak after being pulled onto the tanker after their traumatic experience.

The men arrived home safely in New York Harbor on Wednesday evening, according to USA Today.

“All I asked the Lord was to see my granddaughter,” Joe Ditomasso said, ABC7 reported.