Missing Sailor Found off Cape Hatteras- and a sailboat named “Angel”

By Faye Higbee

North Carolina: Louis Jordan was last seen on January 23 as he took  his sailboat out to go fishing from the Bucksport Plantation Marina in South Carolina. On Thursday April 2,  the U.S. Coast Guard received a call from the Houston Express, a German flagged ship, that they had rescued Mr. Jordan from the hull of his capsized sailboat named “Angel” about 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

missing sailor

Louis Jordan rescued after more than 60 days in the open ocean


Sailing alone

The 37 year old was sailing in open water aboard his 1950’s vintage sailboat named “Angel.” Jordan told reporters that he had survived by catching fish and drinking rain water. He had a shoulder injury and was forced to bail water with one arm. But he was seriously worried about dying on the ocean.

Jordan told his father, “I was just praying about you because I was afraid that you guys were crying and sad that, you know, I was dead.”

When he saw the Houston Express, he stated that he started waving his arms and blowing a whistle. When he saw the ship begin to turn his direction, he remarked “Wow, this is it!

Jordan’s father had called the Coast Guard back on January 29 when he failed to return from his trip, but they hadn’t seen him at the time. When his mother called on February 7,  the USCG launched an investigation. For 10 days they tracked his whereabouts, but did not know his planned route after he left the Marina. At one point they received a possible sighting of the sailboat, but could not verify it.

The Hampton Roads wrote,

Jordan had spent months in Conway sanding and painting his docked 1950s-era, single-masted sailboat named Angel, and marina manager Jeff Weeks told The AP he saw him nearly every day. Jordan was the only resident in a section of about 20 boats docked behind a coded security gate, Weeks said.

“You’ll probably never meet a nicer guy,” Weeks said. “He is a quiet gentleman that most of the time keeps to himself. He’s polite. I would describe him as a gentle giant,” measuring 6-foot-2 and weighing 230 pounds.

Jordan appeared to be knowledgeable about wild fruits and mushrooms and fished for his meals in inland waterways, Weeks told The AP. But his January trip might have been his first time sailing in the open ocean.

“He might sail up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, but he didn’t have the experience he needed to go out into the ocean,” Weeks said.

Without a direction and more than two weeks after he’d left the marina, the Coast Guard put out an alert within the 7th District to look for the Angel. 

A sailboat named Angel?

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter for Mr. Jordan after the Houston Express notified them of his rescue. He was hoisted aboard at the MH-60 Jayhawk at 5:50pm. Mr. Jordan and his father were able to thank the captain of the Houston Express during a recorded phone call.

Jordan was taken to the hospital and later released. He grieved the loss of the boat, but in reality, maybe it was the capsized sailboat named “Angel” that helped to preserve his life on the open ocean.