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 youtube.com/CBS Sunday Morning
youtube.com/CBS Sunday Morning

Two Fishermen Save Little Girl after a Shipwreck Killed Her Family—35 Years Later She Finds Them

Dayna Remus
Nov 11, 2021
06:40 A.M.

After two young heroes saved a little girl's life, she disappeared, almost as if she had become a ghost. Although they searched far and wide, it was to no avail until one day, she appeared in front of them out of the blue, leading to heartbreaking sobs.

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Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano were only in their early twenties when, in May 1986, the two courageous fishermen rescued the then-9-year-old Desireé Rodriguez from the Pacific Ocean. This was after she was caught in a shipwreck close to Catalina Island in Southern California.

The weather that day was foggy, but Strasser and Pisano were able to locate the young girl and pulled her to safety after she had spent around 20 hours in the freezing water. Tragically, although she survived, the young girl's family that had been on the boat with her died.

Desireé Rodriguez hugging one of the fisherman who saved her. ┃Source: youtube.com/CBS Sunday Morning

Desireé Rodriguez hugging one of the fisherman who saved her. ┃Source: youtube.com/CBS Sunday Morning

A DEVASTATING TRAUMA

While floating in the waters, she said her goodbyes to her aunt, uncle, father, sister, and pregnant mother. Her father first swam to find some help and disappeared. Recalling another moment in this harrowing experience, Rodriguez emotionally recollected:

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"My mom was the first to pass. She just started foaming at the mouth."

The now-44-year-old said her little sister then passed, followed by her uncle and her aunt. When it came to the rescue itself, Rodriguez expressed that she remembers very little, as she was beyond exhausted at that point.

LOOKING FOR A GHOST

Since that day, the two fishermen searched for the little girl they saved, but it turned out to be futile. However, Philip Friedman, a fishing enthusiast who has his podcast channel and YouTube show "Friedman Adventures," decided to surprise these two heroes.

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They took her out on the ocean, something she had avoided since the traumatic incident.

Inviting Strasser and Pisano onto his show, Friedman included a third guest, who he said was a translator. She, he explained, was going to tell their story on Spanish television.

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AN EMOTIONAL REUNION

Finally, later on in the segment, Friedman revealed who the woman was, with all three, Rodriguez and her two heroes bursting into tears. They instantly began hugging one another. Strasser said:

"Of all the incident, of all the stuff that's happened in our lives, finding Desireé was like the tops."

Both fishermen got to meet Desireé's beautiful husband and children as well. Furthermore, in one last act of kindness, they took her out on the ocean, something she had avoided since the traumatic incident and yet a bittersweet event that she miraculously lived through despite the mounting odds.

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