'I trusted God,' rescued Texas teen says after 15 hours lost at sea aboard paddle-less kayak
A teen from Texas on a missionary work was rescued off the coast of Honduras on Thursday morning after being declared missing at sea aboard a kayak for about 15 hours.
Aaron Rose of Orange, Texas, was rescued by a joint team from the US and Honduras 18 miles off the Honduras coast at about 9:10 a.m.
Rose was with his family on a missionary work in Honduras when the incident occurred.
In his post on Facebook, Rose said he went kayaking at 6 p.m. Wednesday
"One of my favorite things is to watch the sun rise or set on the beach, and I try to do it at least once when we go anywhere with one," he wrote, adding that he informed his brother Nathan and his family what he was doing.
He went to the same spot he and his brother went the previous day and when it got darker, he decided to go back to the shore.
However, he said, the current became stronger and he had a hard time paddling. Rose said then the kayak flipped over and the paddle drifted away.
"I saw the paddle floating about ten yards away, but I couldn't paddle myself over to it with my arms. I decided I'd better get some help," he said.
He started yelling for help but no one heard him because of the wind and he was already being pulled too far out to be seen.
"The first thirty minutes, roughly, I was more terrified than I've ever been before. I had no control over where I was going, and the resort we were staying at was getting farther and farther away," he said.
When he didn't return, he was declared missing and search efforts were launched to find him. Boats, three planes and a helicopter were used to look for him.
Rose said he started singing the "Amazing Grace."
"I've always loved that song, and I needed something to calm me down. Almost immediately, I felt a real sense of peace. I started singing other songs and hymns, and I prayed a lot, throughout the entire time," he said.
He said that if that was the end of his life, "I wanted to go out with an attitude of worship, no matter my situation."
He said he felt peace as he knew that the situation was out of his control. He had no paddle, mirror, flare or even drinking water.
"I just knew the only thing I could do was to trust God to do what was best. I was thinking of where Paul says 'for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.' I know, and I knew then, that my relationship with Christ is strong enough to keep me safe through death. At the same time, I knew I wasn't ready to be done. I told God that I wasn't yet the man I wanted to be before I stood before him, and I wanted another chance to become that man," he said.
As he kept drifting out to the sea, he prayed again.
"I started praying again, as the one half-plan I had was falling through magnificently," he said.
He said the night was the coldest he ever experienced. The waves as high as 15 feet continued to drag him out to sea.
Rose decided not to sleep to avoid falling out of the kayak.
"I blistered my hands holding on and trying to stay in as it was, because I knew that was the one thing keeping me alive," he said.
At around 2 a.m, he said, the waves started to calm down.
"I found out later that about that time a lot of people were praying for the weather to calm, and I believe God definitely played a role in that," he said.
He said he prayed a lot that night "more than I ever have before."
When morning came, he started paddling using his hand but was stung by a jellyfish. He also realized that hand paddling was useless.
When he was moving towards the direction of the island of Utila, he said, he heard the first aircraft and when he saw it, he began yelling and waving his arms but it didn't see him.
"I can't describe the absolute heartache I felt when the airplane turned around, even less when it happened three more times. The thought of being that close to being found and missing the opportunity was unbearable, as was the knowledge that each one could be the last I saw," he said.
The fifth time that he saw the airplane, they saw him.
"I broke down and cried for the first time the whole ordeal, waves of relief washing over me. They started circling over me and were soon joined by another plane, and I realized that I was going to be rescued, I was going to see my family again, and most of all I was going to live," he said.
A helicopter assisted and pulled him out of the water.
"The men who rescued me wouldn't call themselves heroes, but they're wrong. I, quite literally, owe them my life," he said.
He learned that the same situation happened to seven others and he was the first to survive.
"God answers prayer. If he didn't, I know for a fact I wouldn't be alive today. Thank you, everyone, in Honduras, the States, and abroad for your unceasing prayers and support. They mean the world to my family and to me as well," he said.
After Rose's rescue, his father, Daniel, posted on Facebook to say, "Thank you for all your prayers and support. Today we witnessed a miracle. Heaven and Earth cooperated for an amazing outcome. We are eternally grateful!! Our son was lost but now he's found. He was feared dead but confirmed alive! Praise the Lord."