Left For Dead
It was a horrific experience that I would never want to go through again. At first it was just a normal night, a little rough but nothing too major. We were just off the coast of Leyte and Guam when we were hit by two missiles. At first I was just lying in bed and thought it was a problem with the engines until the abandon ship order was given. The abandon ship order is the worst nightmare for any seamen. There was nothing I could do except follow procedures, I woke all the other men that hadn’t been woken up yet and we rushed to the deck, grabbed a life jacket and waited until the ship was close enough to the water so that when we jumped we would not die on impact. Hitting water from high enough up is like hitting concrete. We dove into the water and swam as fast as we can could away from the sinking ship so that we didn’t get pulled under from the under tow. Once we were a safe distance away we hung onto the raft like our life depended on it. We had been told that a distress signal had been sent out and that it would only be a couple of hours before help arrived. Several hours later there was still no help and the first sign of sharks was when one of the singles was attacked and taken down within a matter of seconds. I tried not to think about the dangers lurking around but with so much time you could not help but run it through your mind. The hardest part was deciding whether to let the injured go or to keep them and risk the fact that they were attracting the sharks. After two days there was still no sign of help and many of us were beginning to get delusional. Men were swimming off because they thought they saw an island or hula girls. Others dehydrated themselves by drink the cold water at their feet because they thought it was fresh. On the third and fifth days there were only about 30 men left and some were wielding weapons and getting restless. Luckily we were able to convince them to let them go and continue to work...
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