Jordan’s saga began Jan. 23, when he set sail from the marina in Conway, S.C., on a short fishing trip. He was reported missing six days later. A German tanker spotted him sitting atop his 35-foot-boat’s overturned hull 200 miles off the North Carolina coast on Thursday, a full 66 days after his disappearance.
By the time cameras caught up with him, Jordan, who claims his shoulder was broken when his boat overturned, wore a backpack, declined medical help and showed “no obvious signs of injury,” according to the Daily Mail.
Despite claiming to lose 50 pounds after his canned food ran out and he was reduced to raw fish, the amateur sailor appeared robust and upbeat as he exited a rescue helicopter and walked without assistance, according to video footage published by the Daily Mail.
By the time he encountered a reporter from the Associated Press, he demonstrated a “firm handshake.” However, his blue eyes, the story noted, were “weary-looking.”
Even stranger, doubters pointed out, was his skin, which looked pale and unblemished, with only the slightest hint of sunburn, according to the Daily Mail.
“We were expecting worse with blisters and severe sunburn and dehydration,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle McCollum, who had the first contact with the sailor, told the AP.
Lt. Jack Shadwick, the co-pilot of the helicopter that carried Jordan back to land and one of the first people to see the sailor up close, agreed with his colleague’s assessment.
“He was in fairly good condition for a guy that you would normally expect to see after 60-plus days offshore,” he told the AP.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, survival expert Erik Kulik of the True North Wilderness Survival School appeared to echo those remarks.
“I would have expected him to be severely dehydrated,” Kulik said. “After that amount of time at sea, he would have been wobbly on his feet, and yet he seemed to walk perfectly. He says he broke his right shoulder, and yet he didn’t even seem to be guarding that shoulder in the pictures I saw after the rescue. There is a lot that doesn’t add up.”
McCollum told the AP that he examined Jordan’s shoulder during the rescue and noticed “slight bruising” on his right clavicle but that Jordan was moving the arm “fluidly” and without “any sign of pain in his face.”
Jordan told the Daily Mail that he has a simple answer about what happened to his shoulder: It healed.
“I have a bump, but it’s fine,” he said. “I feel no pain right now. After two months at sea, it healed.”
Jordan’s two-month ordeal was made stranger by his enthusiastic tales of getting iodine poisoning, sailing through swarms of glowing phosphorescent jellyfish at night and encountering two killer whales “with such beautiful faces, they looked so friendly.”
He told the newspaper that he survived by eating fish he caught by trailing dirty clothes in the ocean and by catching rainwater in a bucket, which he ultimately used for bathing. He said the water he drank tasted pretty good — like “coconut milk,” according to Yahoo News.
Authorities checked Jordan’s bank accounts to confirm that he didn’t withdraw money during his time offshore, according to the Daily Mail. Investigators also plan to review Jordan’s credit card and bank statements, the newspaper reported.
“We don’t have any reason to doubt him but nor can we confirm he spent all this time out there,” an unnamed U.S. Coast Guard spokesman told the Daily Mail. “We are looking forward to learning more about what exactly happened. We are as keen as anyone to find out the truth.”
Jordan told the Daily Mail that he attributes his survival to prayer, reading the Bible cover to cover and reviewing the End Time prophecies.
“I don’t mind being criticized,” he said. “To paraphrase the Bible: Fools hate to be criticized, but wise men love to be criticized.”