Two fishermen, Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano, saved a girl at sea, Desireé Rodriguez, in 1986. Now, they are reuniting and it’s emotional!
Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano were out at sea when they saw something in the fog that just didn't seem right. They steered closer to investigate and their instincts led to a miraculous discovery.
A 9-year-old girl, floating in the mist had all but given up before being fished out of the cold waters by the two men. And 35 years later, the heroes and the girl saved at sea would emotionally reunite!
Family Fishing Trip Turns Tragic
Back when she was younger, tragedy struck 9-year old Desireé Rodriguez. She along with family members were on a fishing trip in the Pacific Ocean. Desireé’s father captained the boat and her uncle, aunt, 5-year-old sister, and mother joined along in the expedition. Their destination was Catalina Island. They had a family tradition of fishing, and that's exactly what they had set out to do.
Once they finished, they left the island a bit later than usual then came across some dense fog. Because of that fog, the boat capsized far away from land. They spent almost a full 24-hours stuck in the cold water of the Pacific Ocean. Surprisingly, even as a young girl, Desireé didn't feel fear while in the water waiting to be saved at sea.
She said, "It was like what you would see in a movie. You could see nothing around you. It was just dark. But it was peaceful, quiet."
Then the situation grew worse. Her father swum away from the group to get help. But their situation was desperate, and his success was not promising. "My dad was like the superhero to me. I actually thought he would get help,"
The family shared stories about how they would get saved at sea as a means of staying awake.
"We kind of still had hope," she shared. "Like, we're going to be OK. We're going to come out of this."
But as they continued to float in the cold sea, the family members started to pass away one by one.
Girl Rescued At Sea As Lone Survivor
Desireé was helpless as she lost her mother, followed by her sister, her uncle, and lastly her aunt. Desireé knew her situation was very dire. She was cold, alone, and with no apparent rescue in sight. Desireé could have easily given up hope.
Then a commercial sport-fishing boat happened upon the area and someone onboard spotted ‘something weird' through binoculars. The fishermen first encountered a body floating face down. But then they spied Desireé, her brown hair visible above the surface, and they had hope.
"I knew if it had a life jacket, and I saw a brown thing above it, we have a chance," Paul said.
An officer on the boat hopped into the water immediately and, much to his relief, found Desireé still alive.
Paul and Mark were not veteran fishermen at the time but did have a decent amount of experience. Their fishing trip had been uneventful and unproductive initially. At some point, they started to catch fish, which thankfully encouraged them to stay out on the water longer. Then the fog started to clear.
God put the men in the right place at the right time for Desireé, and Paul and Mark came across and saved the little girl at sea when they were headed home.
Emotional Reunion Decades In The Making
With the rescue, Desireé was saved. And 35 years later this story would be retold by those involved in saving the girl at sea.
Passionate fisherman Philip Friedman launched a broadcast called "Friedman Adventures” in December of last year. He interviewed Mark Pisano who retold the story of their rescue. Friedman expressed interest in finding the woman who was rescued, but it was a fan of the show, Pablo Peña, who made the connection.
He and Desireé were former coworkers from 17 years ago.
Contact was established and podcaster Philip Friendman brought the three together: the girl saved at sea and her two rescuers. He concealed her identity before the big reveal. Together, they all emotionally recounted the story. They plan on continuing to keep the contact that has been reestablished.
And prayerfully they do. That would give this story two happy endings: first her rescue, and then their reunion.
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You can watch the incredible reunion in the videos below. We’ve broken the viewing into two separate sections in an effort to avoid curse words.
WATCH: Rescuers Reunite With Girl Saved At Sea (Part 1)
WATCH: Rescuers Reunite With Girl Saved At Sea (Part 2)
Listen: Heroic Off-Duty Firefighter Uses Final Moments To Save 3 Girls As His 10-Year-Old Daughter Watches AND Fishermen Find Mystery Woman Floating at Sea and Discover She'd Been Missing for 2 Years
h/t: Yahoo News
Featured Image Credit: Youtube/Friedman Adventures