Lost at sea for nearly a week. The story of two Lowcountry teens made headlines around the world. It happened ten years ago this year. News 2’s Octavia Mitchell covered the story from the beginning to it’s happy ending a decade ago. She caught up with Troy Driscoll and Josh Long to find out what they’re up to now.
It’s a story that captivated the world, two teens lost at sea. Troy Driscoll says, “We were lost for seven days without food and water. It was tough but by the grace of God we made it.” Josh Long says, “I think about it quite often. I still have the boat. Every time I see the boat I’m like oh my goodness.. how did i live on that.”
It all started on April 24th 2005. Family members reported 17-year-old Josh Long and 15-year-old Troy Driscoll missing after they did not return from a fishing trip. They left from Sullivan’s Island and for days rescue crews searched by land, sea, and air over a large search area. The teens spent their days praying, singing hymns, and eating jellyfish. They were battered by 8-foot waves. Josh says, “I thought we were done. After the fifth day I didn’t think there was a chance of us being found before we died. When I was rescued, it was mind blowing. I wasn’t expecting it and neither was Troy. We were prepared to go to God. We were fine with that. It was kind of a blessing in disguise.”
Six days later, fisherman rescued the teens near the coast of North Carolina. Captain Rick Smith is one of them. Captain Rick Smith says, “I don’t know why I was picked for it, but I do know it’s help me and changed my whole life. It’s really nice to be living life today because when you see something like that and people coming that close, another six hours and they wouldn’t be here.”
Both Troy and Josh say they often think about their frightening ordeal. Troy says, “It hits home every once and a while. A lot of times I think why did I make it, and why was it me. At the same time it was a blessing because it really helped me out in life because it shows how important life is and how short it is. At the same time, I’m really thankful for a lot of things in life now.”
Ten years later, Troy is 25 and he’s a firefighter with the Old Fort Fire Department. He says, “I’ve been a fireman since 18. My dad was one for 25 years, and I followed his foot steps, and it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life. I help people out. It’s a good brotherhood to help someone out. I’ve actually done some boat rescues, and to be a part of that. It brings back memories and if I can help somebody out like people help search for me. It makes me feel really good.”
Troy has a daughter. He says, “She’s beautiful. She’s two years-old. Her name is McKenzie. God blessed me with that and that’s another reason I think I got saved. She’s my heart and I live for her every day. I can’t wait to bring her out here and really explain the story and her understanding. It’s almost like I got saved from the ocean, and I got lost in life a little bit, and I had my daughter and it opened my eyes up a little bit. It brought me back on the right path. I’m not perfect, but man she is definitely a blessing.”
Josh, now 27, is in the National Guard and in the process of starting his own construction company. He has four children. Josh says, “Ethan, Joshua, Jacob. We just had our daughter Jasmine. I have a wonderful family, beautiful kids. I know that’s what I’m here for.”
As for their adventure at sea, they both say it was all for a purpose. Troy says, “A lot of people came together to help me and Josh out. It was a life saving event that not only changed our lives, it helped a lot of people in Charleston realize it’s a good community that we do live in. I’m very thankful.” “God has a bigger purpose for us. I thank God I’m here,” says Josh.
Both Troy and Josh say they still enjoy fishing, boating, and anything that has to do with the water. They both have tattoos on their arms symbolizing their time at sea.
Captain Rick formed a bond with Troy and Josh and moved here ten years ago. The other captain, Ben passed away.