(NEWSER) – Ron Ingraham was able to find sustenance during 12 days lost at sea—"I'm a fisherman, so I caught fish," the Hawaii man tells ABC News—but he might never have seen land again if he hadn't been able to make a distress call. He somehow pieced together a makeshift radio out of a coat hanger and some wire to place a mayday call to the Coast Guard, which had stopped looking for the 67-year-old more than a week earlier, reports NBC News.
The radio on his 25-foot sailboat was wrecked by the same rogue wave that broke both his masts, Ingraham says. "I thought I was going to die," Ingraham said after he was picked up by a Navy boat on Tuesday. "I hung in there. It took mental discipline. But these guys are real heroes and they save people's lives. I owe it all to them."