Having a family member or close friend go missing is one of the worst situations imaginable. The haunting uncertainty about where they are or what’s happening to them is almost impossible to shake off. It’s a nightmare no one wants to live.
Louis Jordan, a dock worker and fisherman from South Carolina, often spent long periods of time at sea. Though his job required it, he genuinely did enjoy the solitude his boat offered.
But that all changed in January of 2015 when Louis embarked on a solo trip off the coast of South Carolina—and he never returned home. His heartbroken parents had no idea if they would ever see their missing son again. And then, something strange happened…
When a close friend or family member goes missing, it’s nearly impossible to overcome the loss. The lack of closure can haunt the victim’s loved ones for the remainder of their lives. So when a middle-aged fisherman named Louis Jordan mysteriously disappeared at sea one fateful day, his family braced themselves for a lifetime of unresolved heartbreak. Would they ever see their son again?
Louis was a 37-year-old fisherman and dock worker from South Carolina who loved being out at sea. It wasn’t unusual for him to make solo journeys far out into the ocean to enjoy the solitude his boat offered. He embarked on one such trip in January 2015, heading out off the coast of South Carolina all by himself.
Louis told his family he was going to be home later that same evening, but he never came back. His parents were sure he decided to spend an extra day out at sea without telling them, but then a week passed with no word from their son. When Louis missed his mother’s birthday, his parents knew something wasn’t right.
Louis’s parents decided they needed to take some kind of action to help locate their son. They began passing out flyers along the coast, hoping someone had seen him. They also started monitoring a list of dead bodies that washed onto the Carolina shores, praying that Louis wasn’t one of them.
Louis’s family held on hope for as long as they could. However, after two straight months, they started to come to terms with the fact he may never return home. His mother hung up photos of him and his boat as a memorial. His parents were almost sure they’d lost their son…
Even though friends and family weren’t certain of Louis’s whereabouts, several of them held memorial services in his honor. They all knew the odds of him returning after two months at sea were slim to none.
The family celebrated a very somber Easter that year. They still wanted to believe they would suddenly receive a phone call telling them Louis had been found alive, but the chances of that happening now seemed like a pipe dream.
However, on Good Friday morning, something astounding happened: Louis Jordan, emaciated, exhausted, but still very much alive, arrived at his parent’s home and nearly jumped into their arms. Their son was back! But how?
Apparently, the day before Good Friday, a massive cargo ship spotted Louis sitting on top of a battered boat that was barely afloat. He was 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina. He never intended to travel that far out into the ocean when he left two months earlier.
According to Louis, a huge swell capsized his 35-foot-long boat during a storm just a couple of days into his solo fishing journey. The mast of his ship broke in the process along with his radio equipment. He also seriously injured his shoulder. The weather calmed down, but he was left drifting alone in the middle of the ocean, unsure whether anyone would find him.
Because Louis was a seasoned fisherman, he was able to bring the ship back to its proper positioning after it capsized. But Louis faced another dire situation: how was he going to catch food with a broken shoulder and almost no equipment?
Luckily, he had pancake mix and a small supply of clean drinking water. But he needed to be extremely mindful of how he rationed his portions. He used his boat’s stove, which still worked, to cook the pancakes, and he managed to catch a few fish using a small net.
Louis also needed to bail water out of his boat frequently to keep it afloat. It suffered a lot of damage in the storm and would take on water throughout the day. Louis managed to remove the sea water, and he also began to collect rainwater to drink.
Using his expertise, Louis was able to construct a makeshift mast and sail. Unfortunately, the ocean’s currents were too strong for the mast to do any significant work, but the wind did help to move the vessel, albeit slowly.
According to Louis, one of the most important items he had with him was a copy of the Bible. He read it over and over again, cover to cover. Hope was offered to him in the form of gospels, prayers, and stories. He prayed every day, hoping it would help him reach safety.
On the day Louis was saved, he was standing atop his vessel waving his arms like a madman and screaming at the top of his lungs. At 1:30 p.m., on the day before Good Friday, the coast guard received a call that the Houston Express, a massive cargo ship, picked up a stranded sailor. Louis Jordan was saved.
Once back on land, Louis was flown to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. However, he refused treatment once he got there despite the fact he had a broken shoulder and was severely dehydrated. He wanted nothing more than to reunite with his family as quickly as possible.
The coast guard called Louis’s family to make sure they would be home when he returned. The family was dumbfounded by the phone call. They had almost entirely given up hope, but now their prayers had just been answered.
Louis and his family had an emotional reunion as soon as he arrived. Watching their son walk into the room alive and well was the greatest moment of their lives. They embraced each other for what felt like an eternity, and then they sat down and ate a delicious Easter dinner.
What is Louis going to do now that he’s back on land? He’s not entirely sure. He’s currently living with his parents and taking things day by day. Right now, he’s just glad to be alive, and so is everyone else!
Even the most seasoned fishermen can run into trouble out at sea, but Louis’s will to survive was what allowed him to reunite with his hopeful parents!
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