Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Surrounded by sea, sailors kept afloat with hope

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — As night slid into day and back into night, and reef fish nibbled at their skin and the Gulf of Mexico roiled around them, the five survivors of the sinking of the Cynthia Woods sailboat kept talking. Steve Conway, a retired Coast Guard commander and one of the sailboat's safety officers, told some of the sea stories he's famous for, careful to avoid "ones that involve utter calamity." Then, he told reporters Monday, he detailed the protocol for Coast Guard rescues, giving the four Texas A&M students floating alongside him in the Gulf a timeline for the help they were certain would eventually come. Those stories, that steadfast belief that they would be rescued and the jokes the five sailors tossed around as they bobbed more than 20 miles offshore kept their spirits and hopes up during 26 hours at sea.

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